The Vale of Belvoir is an area rich in fossils from the Lias. The bedrock is close to the surface and fossils can be collected from ploughed fields. This particular location should only be visited between late September and April, when the fields have been ploughed and the crops have not begun to grow.
♦ From Grantham, take the A1 south and then the A607 southwest towards Melton Mowbray. Turnoff at Denton and head towards Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir and, from there, head to Belvoir. From Belvoir, take Belvoir Road to the northwest, then turn right at Long Lane and follow this road until you get to the crossroads. Park down Wood Lane.
♦ Alternatively, from Bingham, follow the A52 east and turnoff towards Granby. Follow the road through Granby onto Plungar. At Plungar, head northeast to Barkestone-le-Vale. From there, take the road (Wood Lane) to the southeast until it comes to a crossroads with Long Lane. There is free parking at this crossroads to the south.
♦ Walk northeast along Long Lane until you get to the public footpath. This is about 1.2km from the parking area. Both the north-western and south-eastern footpaths can be taken to find fossils.
♦ If using the north-western path, keep to the left hand path when it splits. The fields from here to Barkestone-le-Vale can then be visited.
♦ If using the south-eastern path, sites along the route all the way to Belvoir can be visited.
♦ Ref: SK 79389 34464
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦♦ – Providing you visit during late September to April, the chance of finding fossils is very high. If you visit outside these times, fossils can still be found, but they will be covered by crops and you must obviously avoid damaging these. Therefore, we do not advise that you visit when crops are growing in the fields.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – This site is good for families, but take care when walking along Long Lane. This is very busy with heavy traffic and there is no footpath or pavement. It is also quite a long walk, so it is only recommended for older children.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – We recommend the use of the OS 1:50,000 map of Nottingham. Providing you have such a map, the location is easy to find and to access. The walk is just under 2km to the start of the footpath and, depending on how many fields you visit, the whole trip can be anything from a bit over 2km to 8km long.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in the fields, because, they have been brought to the surface when farmers plough the fields. Therefore, the best time to visit is late September to April, otherwise many fields will be overgrown or have crops on them, which can be damaged if you walk over them. There are no collecting restrictions at this location, but you should always collect sensibly and safely, and not damage the farmers’ crops.
The Vale of Belvoir is rich in Lias fossils. Fossils can simply be found loose in the fields, for example, once you reach the public footpaths from Long Lane. The north-western path is the easiest and shortest, with the south-eastern being the longest and hardest, but is the most productive.
The mudstones and limestone of the Vale of Belvoir, around Bottesford and Muston, belong to the oldest part of the Jurassic Period.
The area covers the Lower Jurassic Lias, from the Sinemurian to Toarcian stages. Most of the rocks are from the Charmouth Mudstone Formation (previously the lower Brant Mudstone Formation), with rocks from the Whitby Formation, Marlstone Rock Formation and Dyrham Formation also present in the area .
This is a safe location, although take care when walking along Long Lane, which is busy. As with all locations, common sense should always be used.
You do not need to bring any tools, just something to put the fossils in. These are found mostly loose in the fields. You just need a keen eye.
There are no restrictions at this site.