Wye Downs

There are several old quarries and pits around the Wye Downs. These cover two chalk formations – the Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation and New Pit Formation. One particularly accessible quarry is featured in this guide, which cuts through the New Pit Formation. Brachiopods are most common fossils here.

DIRECTIONS

♦ From the A28 north of Ashford, head to the village of Wye. Continue though the village along Coldharbour Lane. This road runs east from the village.
♦ You will pass turn offs to farm buildings, then a small wooded area on the right hand side of the road. Continue until you reach a bend, after which you will see a footpath on your left.
♦ Just before the path is the old quarry. The gate is no longer used, so there is parking for one car in front of it. From here, climb over the gate and follow the old trackway to the quarry.
♦ Ref: 51.18097°N, 0.96085°E

PROFILE INFO

FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – The New Pit Formation of the chalk is generally quite fossiliferous. However, this is an old quarry and is badly overgrown. Chalk scree, boulders and some small areas of bedrock can be seen, but are limited. This makes collecting difficult and considerably reduces your chances of finding specimens.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – Older children can visit this site. However, due to the climb over the gate, we do not recommend it for younger children. There is also a steep section to the path, where some of the best exposures are, but which is too dangerous for younger children.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – This site is fairly easy to find, with a short walk and parking nearby. The only issue is the climb over the old quarry wooden gate. Parking is limited to one car.
TYPE: -Fossils are found in boulders and scree in this old quarry, which is highly overgrown, so they can be hard to collect. In spite of this, the fossiliferous chalk here should ensure you return with at least a few brachiopods.

FOSSIL HUNTING

The New Pit Formation of the chalk is generally quite fossiliferous. However, this is an old quarry and is badly overgrown. Chalk scree, boulders and some small areas of bedrock can be seen, but are limited. This makes collecting difficult and considerably reduces your chances of finding specimens.

Older children can visit this site. However, due to the climb over the gate, we do not recommend it for younger children. There is also a steep section to the path, where some of the best exposures are, but which is too dangerous for younger children.
This site is fairly easy to find, with a short walk and parking nearby. The only issue is the climb over the old quarry wooden gate. Parking is limited to one car.

Fossils are found in boulders and scree in this old quarry, which is highly overgrown, so they can be hard to collect. In spite of this, the fossiliferous chalk here should ensure you return with at least a few brachiopods.

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GEOLOGY

The New Pit Formation here is of Turonian age (Upper Cretaceous) and is the same fossiliferous chalk as Eastbourne, Beachy Head and Dover. Along the Wye Downs at other sites, exposures of the similarly-aged Holywell Nodular Chalk can be found in disused pits and quarries.

SAFETY

Please take extreme care if trying to climb the steep path. The loose chalk rubble can easily give way. Also be aware of dogs not on leads. Many dog walkers come to this site and don’t expect to see fossil collectors.

EQUIPMENT

You will need a hammer and chisel to split the boulders, and most fossils will be found this way. Note that any loose fossils tend to become badly weathered and degraded. Safety goggles are also recommended when using hammers.

ACCESS RIGHTS

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.

It is important to follow our ‘Code of Conduct’ when collecting fossils or visiting any site. Please also read our ‘Terms and Conditions

LINKS

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