Easington is more famous for its major gas terminal, but it is also another location along the Holderness Coastline, which is constantly being eroded. The boulder clay yields rocks from various ages in which you can find fossils. In particular, it is more chalky here than other locations along the coastline.
♦ Take the B1445 (Hull Road) to Easington. Follow it through the town and east towards the caravan site. There is enough parking for a few cars at the end of the road marked ‘Road Ahead Closed’. Note the public convenience marked on OS maps has now fallen in the sea.
♦ Near to the parking area is a slipway down to the beach. From here, walk northwest.
♦ The Holderness coastline is constantly changing, access may change without notice and erosion may cause some locations to be temporary closed without warning.
♦ Ref: TA 40794 18745
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ -Due to the rapid erosion along this coastline, fresh material is always being washed out. As a result, you always have a good chance of making some good finds.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for children, but keep them away from the cliff face.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – There is free parking at the top of the cliff, with an easy access on a slipway taking you onto the foreshore. You can immediately start finding fossils as soon as you enter the beach.
TYPE: -You can find fossils in the scree, in foreshore exposures and in the cliff face. The sea often washes out fresh material, so there is always plenty to look through. Often, especially after high tides, the sea will sieve the clay for you, taking all of the fine clay material away and dumping all the rocks and fossils along the foreshore, making it easy pickings for fossil hunters. However, the best fossils are found by splitting rocks.
The Holderness Coastline is famously known for its rapid erosion and, as such, the topic for many school projects in geography lessons. Attempts to slow down the rapid rate of erosion have failed and, in some cases, has made the situation much worse. Due to this erosion, access is only possible at some locations.
The boulder clay at Easington tends to contain more chalk erratic, so echinoids, for example, are more commonly found. The rapid erosion rates make this area an excellent place to collect fossils regularly, knowing that almost every time you visit, fresh material will be available to search through.
The fossils are erratics. In other words, they do not come from the actual deposits that they are found in. In fact, they were brought down during the last ice age, dragged from the north trapped in giant ice sheets and dumped along the Holderness Coastline. You can find almost anything from the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks of Yorkshire and also a number of Carboniferous rocks. Fossils include ammonites, belemnites, echinoids, corals and molluscs (which are the most common), but you can also find reptile remains if you are luckily. While this makes it more exciting, you can never fully date these fossils, as it is impossible to tell exactly what bed they are originally from.
Search the scree, in slipped material and on the foreshore for fossils. Often, the sea will do most of the work for you, acting like a giant sieve and dropping the fossils along the foreshore. However, they can be well hidden, trapped in the clay and under rocks. Some of the best fossils are inside the rocks, so it is ideal to take a hammer and safety glasses to break these rocks apart. Look for signs of fossils. For example, there are a number of rocks full of worn ammonites on the outside. If you split these rocks using a splitting chisel, you will find many complete ammonites in excellent condition inside.
Easington is part of the Holderness Coastline and due to its rapid erosion rates, is often the subject for study in school geography lessons. Holderness is underlain by Cretaceous chalk from the Flamborough Chalk Formation (White Chalk Subgroup) but along this coastline, it is so deeply buried beneath the glacial deposits that it is never exposed on the beach. The chalk probably lies at around 60 to 70 feet (18 to 21 m) under the sand, gravel and clay beds and possibly deeper.
The cliffs are primarily Boulder Clay; deposits of till with erratics, deposited during the Devensian glaciation period (of Pleistocene age). Within these deposits, you will find many erratics and it is these that contain the Carboniferous, Jurassic and Cretaceous fossils.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and knowledge of tide times is essential. The Holderness coastline, and especially the area at Easington, has strong currents. In addition, the sea often reaches the base of the cliff, so this area experiences rapid erosion. Only visit on a falling tide. Access can vary due to the erosion, so only access locations that are not only safe to get downto, but also safe to get back up again.
A pick is handy for the clay, but generally, all you need is a good eye. Remember to wrap your finds. A hammer and safety glasses may also come in handy to break any rocks. Trainers or walking boots will be fine, unless you are visiting after exceptionally high tides, when the clay on the beach may be quite sticky.
There are no restrictions at this location, but you should always collect sensible and safely, please see our code of conduct below.
This location is on old MOD land, parking is free at the top of the cliff.