Trearne Quarry

This working quarry is highly productive, especially for bivalves and brachiopods from Carboniferous marine shale deposits. Corals are also very common here.


♦ From Glasgow, head west along the M8 motorway. Just after the Glasgow Airport flyover, take Junction 28a onto the A737 towards Irvine.
♦ After around 6.5km, just after the turn off to Johnstone, take the right hand lane and stay in it. The road will become a single carriageway. Follow this road for about 16km until you come to a roundabout. Take the first left heading for Beith and Irvine.
♦ At the next roundabout, take the second left, again heading for Beith and Irvine. Then take the second turn on your left onto the B777 heading to Gateside and Lugton, which is about 4km from the roundabout.
♦ Go through Gateside and take the first turn on your right onto Sharon Street. (This is not named.) On your right and 200m further along this road, you will see a small parking space beside a gate. This can be used if you want to enter the quarry, but not by its main entrance.
♦ Alternatively, drive for about 2.5km and, on the left, is a bungalow. The main entrance to the quarry is opposite this.
♦ From Gateside, take the first turn on the right into Sharon Street. (This is not named.) There is a small parking space beside a gate, about 200m along this road on the right. This can be parked in if you want to enter the quarry, but not by its main entrance.
♦ Alternatively, drive for around 2.5km and, on the left is a bungalow. The main entrance to the quarry is opposite this.
♦ Ref: 55.27472°N, 4.78109°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – This quarry is highly productive and you will be sure to find some excellent specimens. However, it is a working quarry and a SSSI, so ensure you obtain permission from the manager before visiting.
CHILDREN: ♦ – This is a working quarry and is not suitable for children. It is too dangerous and children will not be allowed to enter.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – Access to the quarry is through the main road running in and out of the site, although it is not advisable to use this during the week or while the quarry is working. The location can be hard to find, but if you follow the directions above, you should not have any problems.
TYPE: – This is a working quarry. However, permission to visit will be given provided that you keep clear of the fresh faces. Collecting is only permitted from the old faces, which are away from the main workings.


The quarry manager must be asked for permission to visit. Access may not be given depending on the stability of the rock faces at the time. Note also that this is an SSSI, so please do not over collect.

Many varieties of fossil can be found here within a very small distance. Among these are brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, corals, crinoids, blastoids, polyzoa, and the occasional shark’s tooth and trilobite carapaces. The best specimens are found in the dark grey beds of shale.


The rock face itself is only about 4.5 to 6m high, but care still has to be taken when walking near to the edge or the face, as most of the quarry has not been worked for some years. Although this is the case, many fossils are still being weathered out and can easily be removed.

On entering the quarry by its main entrance, check the strata on the right where the shale beds are full of fossils in near perfect condition. Work your way round the quarry, keeping the rock face to your right and you will see horizontal limestone and shale bedding, all containing fossils. Ahead, you will eventually see the new workface, which you will need to keep well clear of.


Trearne Quarry cuts into marine Blackhall Limestones of the Lower Limestone Formation, from the Brigantian substage of the Dinantian (Lower Carboniferous), from 326-331 Mya and tuffaceous mudstones and tuffs of the Kirkwood Formation deposits, part oif the Clackmannan Group of the Aspian substage of the Lower Carboniferous from 326-335 Mya.

Trearne Quarry.jpg



Trearne Quarry can be very boggy, especially during the winter and after heavy rain. In addition, some areas have steep sides. We also recommend the use of hard hats and safety goggles.


Most fossils can be found by searching through the loose scree and shale. Therefore, a knife and trowel is handy, but for the limestone blocks, a hammer, chisel and safety glasses are useful. You may also need a pick for the shale. In addition, take plenty of paper to wrap specimens in, as some can be very fragile, and also something to put them in.


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

6a4bfbf50b99eb839741fb99dca95014f77f693a_hq.jpgScotland’s fossil resource is at risk of abuse and damage, and so we must all safeguard and managed fossil collecting to ensure its survival for future generations. For this reason it is VITAL you read and adhere to the Scottish Fossil Code for ALL sites in Scotland. 

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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