Cooden is located at the western end of the town of Bexhill. Along the foreshore, exposures of Weald Clay and Tunbridge Wells Sand can be seen. Fossils – including dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtle, plants and fish remains – can be found here.
♦ Follow the A259 through Bexhill. As you approach the western end of Bexhill, you will come to a roundabout. Take the southern exit towards Cooden, which is also signposted as Cooden Beach.
♦ Follow the road all the way down, until it passes under a railway bridge. Immediately after the bridge, there is parking for a few cars.
♦ The car park is situated by a small roundabout, and gives quick and easy access to the beach. If this is full, two large car parks can be found the other side of the railway bridge with public toilets.
♦ From the car park, walk down to the beach and, at low tide, extensive exposures of Weald Clay can be found along the foreshore.
♦ Ref: 50.83266°N, 0.42737°E – TQ 71031 06489
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Fossils at Cooden are fairly common, providing that exposures of Weald Clay are visible. In addition, there is a large variety to be found here, with plenty of foreshore exposures to look through.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦ – This location is ideal for children, with easy access and hardly any walking. In addition, there are no rocks to climb over. There are toilets and shops close by.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – It is easy to find and there is good access to the shore. Cooden represents the most suitable location in Sussex for families interesting in collecting from the Wealden. There are no cliffs and exposures of Weald Clay can be found along the foreshore. However, you must collect on a low tide and this is best done during scouring conditions.
TYPE: – There are no cliffs and exposures of Weald Clay can be found along the foreshore. However, you must collect on a low tide and this is best done during scouring conditions.
Bexhill has become a popular location for dinosaur hunters ever since the storms of November 1999 scoured the beach and exposed a dinosaur trackway (probably made by an Iguanodon). However, very little has been published about Cooden, but fossils are actually more common here than at the more frequently visited ‘Galley Hill’ area of Bexhill. The Weald Clay here yields remains of dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, fish and also plant remains. Fossil stems are particularly common in the foreshore clay. Cooden also exposures the Tunbridge Wells Sand on the foreshore, but this is not fossiliferous. Instead, you need to concentrate on the grey, muddy Weald Clay. The fossils are often found in ironstone (sideridic) concretions in this blue-grey clay and provide evidence of land and aquatic life on a Wealden mudplain. If you search the foreshore deposits using a knife, pick or trowel, you can easily pry any fossils you find out of the mud.
A fault on the foreshore at Cooden brings the Tunbridge Wells Sand (on the western side) against the Weald Clay (on the eastern side). The Tunbridge Wells Sand consists of silts and sands, with channel structures. The Weald Clay consists of grey mud and is where the fossils can be found. A very low spring tide is required, to enable the Wealden Beds to be exposed and where dinosaur bone can be collected, along with footcasts of dinosaur prints.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and you should check tide times before going. However, the sea defences and shingle bank make is highly unlikely that you will get cut off, because, even at high tide, the sea never reaches very far up the beach. The only real danger here is mud, which can sometimes be deep around the foreshore exposures.
Very few tools are needed, although a knife, pick or trowel may come in handy. The fossils tend to be fragile, so it is best to bring plenty of paper and boxes to protect your finds.
Restrictions: None – There are no restrictions to Cooden. However, it is important you follow our national fossil code of conduct.
It is important to follow our ‘Code of Conduct’ when collecting fossils or visiting any site. Please also read our ‘Terms and Conditions‘