St Andrews

This is another location along this stretch of coastline where Carboniferous plant fossils can be found. The site is not as rich as others, but is still worth a visit.


♦ From the A917 (St Mary’s Street), take the turning towards East Sands into Woodburn Place.
♦ At the end of the road, you will come to a car park. Park here.
♦ Walk along or behind the sandy beach towards where it becomes rocky, with tilting strata exposed. This is the start of the fossil hunting area.
♦ Ref: 56.33621°N, 2.78197°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Plant remains and bivalves can be found here. In fact, various plant fossils can be found in situ and also in loose pebbles. Rocks containing abundant bivalves are also present, but uncommon.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – There are no significant obstacles or risks at this site and, as such, it is suitable for the whole family.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – The location is close to a car park and the beach is easy to negotiate.
TYPE: – Fossils can be seen in the exposed rock layers of the foreshore. They can also be picked up as loose pebbles or extracted from larger rocks.


Fossils can be found in loose pebbles or observed in situ within the exposed rock strata. Plant fossils are the most common, with examples of Stigmaria being fairly abundant. Some red coloured rocks are packed with bivalve fossils, but these are rare.

Sandstone with plant pieces



The Carboniferous sandstones at St Andrews are from the Visean age and part of the Asbian and form part of the Calciferous Sandstone Series. This is around 330myrs old.

Small plant fossil impression


This is a family friendly location, beginning at a popular sandy beach. From the beach, a more rocky stretch of coastline can be investigated for fossils. In places, this is uneven underfoot and also slippery where algae covers the rocks. It is also possible to get cut off here, so only collect on a falling tide. Remember to take a mobile phone with you, and always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to return.


Most fossils can be found by searching the rocks on the foreshore. You may need a hammer and safety glasses to split the larger boulders, but most of the work is done simply by beachcombing.


This site is an SSSI. This Special Site of Scientific Interest, means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted.

It is important to follow our ‘Code of Conduct’ when collecting fossils or visiting any site. Please also read our ‘Terms and Conditions


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