Reighton Sands is an ideal location to stop by when walking to the popular nearby Speeton Cliffs. It has Kimmeridge Clay rich in ammonites and shells, but this is often covered up and requires scouring tides. Instead, the boulder clay yields a variety of erratic fossils of Jurassic, Cretaceous and Carboniferous age.
♦ To the north of the village of Reighton, along the A165, you will see signs to the Reighton Sands Holiday Village. Take this road.
♦ Follow the road, passing the holiday village to Reighton Gap. You will come to a gravel car parking area with a walk down to the beach.
♦ The concrete slipway down is badly slipped, being cracked and worn with parts that are a little steep. Near the bottom, the path can be muddy and slippery.
♦ This location is ideally done with Speeton, which is only a short walk.
♦ Ref: TA 13713 76655
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Fossils found here will mostly be from the boulder clay, which include: corals and crinoids from the Carboniferous period; ammonites, belemnites and other molluscs of Jurassic age; and Cretaceous echinoids. However, during scouring tides, when the Kimmeridge Clay is exposed, you can find flat ammonites and shells.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – This location is suitable for children, but they may need help getting down, as the concrete path is badly slipped and cracked. The beach itself has soft sands and is ideal for children.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – There is free parking at the top of the cliff with a slipway down; and you can immediately start finding fossils as soon as you enter the beach. Unfortunately, the slipway down is now badly slipped and there are some deep gaps in the concrete path.
TYPE: – You can find fossils in the scree, foreshore exposure and in the cliff face. The sea often washes out fresh material, so there is always plenty to look through. Most fossils found here will be from the boulder clay.
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. The best fossils are found by splitting rocks.
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 rock.
Most fossils found at Reighton come from the boulder clay. These fossils are erratics, in other words, they do not come from the actual deposits in which they are found. They were brought down during the last ice age, dragged from the north, trapped in giant ice sheets and dumped here.
You can find almost anything from the Jurassic and Cretaceous rocks of Yorkshire and also a number of Carboniferous rocks. The most common fossils include ammonites, belemnites, echinoids, corals and molluscs, but you can also find reptile remains if you are lucky. While this makes it more exciting, you can never fully date these fossils, as it is impossible to tell exactly what bed they are from.
Search the scree, slipped material and foreshore for fossils. These can be hidden, trapped in the clay and around rocks. Some of the best fossils are inside the rocks, so it is ideal to take a hammer to break them. Look for the signs of fossil evidence. 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 may find many complete ammonites in excellent condition inside.
If you are luckily enough to have the Kimmeridge Cay exposed, which can be seen on the foreshore during scouring conditions, flattened ammonites and bivalves can be found. The hudlestoni to lower pectinatus zones of the Kimmeridge Clay are exposed here. Shortly after the boulder clay, the Speeton Formation at Speeton starts.
The blue-grey Kimmeridge Clay is sometimes exposed on the foreshore at Reighton, but is often covered up by the slipped boulder clay forming the cliffs. This clay (which is a reddish, brown) was deposited during the Devensian glaciation period (of Pleistocene age). Within these deposits, you will find many erratics and it is these that contain the Jurassic, Carboniferous and Cretaceous fossils.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used. Take care when walking down the slipway and be sure to return before the tide turns, as the sea often reaches the base of the cliff. Keep away from the cliffs at all times.
During scouring tides, fossils can be simply picked up from the foreshore, however picks and knives are handy to get fossils out of the clay.
A pick is handy for the Boulder clay, but generally, all you need is a good eye. Remember to wrap your finds. A hammer may also come in handy to break any rocks.
Trainers or walking boots will be fine, unless you are visiting after exceptionally high tides, where the clay may be quite sticky on the beach
This site is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions, download the PDF from Natural England.