Rich in reptile remains, you can find bones at Lilstock on the foreshore and in the cliff. In fact, complete skeletons are regularly found. Lilstock also yields ammonites, shells and fish remains. The Lilstock Formation contains fossils in the Triassic beds exposed along the foreshore.
♦ Lilstock can be reached by using the A39 from Kilton.
♦ There is a car park at Lilstock. Park here and access the shore, where you can either walk west towards the Triassic Lilstock Formation (this is not always exposed) or east for the Jurassic Blue Lias (which is recommended as a starting point).
♦ If space is available, you can drive further along the road from the main car park to the beach, where there is space for three cars. ♦ Ref: 51.20288°N, 3.19156°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – This location is highly productive during winter storms for reptile remains, which are easily collected from the softer shale. Ammonites and shells can be found but are either crushed in the shale, or worn in the harder rocks and cobbles, so you are less likely to come away with any good specimens of these.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – Although this location is suitable for families, the foreshore is very rocky and hard going. This makes it unsuitable for younger children, who will find climbing over the rocks and walking through the pebbles difficult.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦ – Access to the beach is fairly easy. You can park at the Lilstock car park and just walk down to the shore.
TYPE: – This is a foreshore and cliff location, and fossils can be found in both. The vast majority are found in or at the base of the cliff after high tides, or exposed on the foreshore during scouring conditions. However, note that this site is an SSSI. Therefore, hammering the bedrock and cliffs is not permitted, but collecting loose material is.
Lilstock is highly rich in reptile and fish remains, including Plesiosaurus and Ichthyosaurus. These are often found in the cliff face itself or exposed on the foreshore. Bivalves, ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods and crinoids can also be found, although these are less common than at other Jurassic sites along the Somerset coastline.
Apart from the Jurassic Blue Lias that makes up much of the geology at Lilstock, this location is famous for the Lilstock Formation of the Rhaetian. Fish, reptile and the occasional dinosaur remains can be found in this bed, which is similar to the Blue Anchor Formation. These beds are exposed on the foreshore during scouring conditions.
Lilstock also has Tea Green Marls, also from the Triassic, which are exposed in a cliff sequence.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and knowledge of tide times is essential. You can easily be cut off by the tide, as the sea always reaches some parts of the cliff. There are also regular cliff falls along this part of the coast, so keep well away from the base of the cliff. The beach is hard going with rocks and pebbles, which are not stable.
Lilstock is a bit of an unpredictable location – sometimes you can come away with nothing and other times it can be very productive. Much depends on beach conditions. Hammers, chisels and safety goggles are recommended for the loose rocks and boulders, but note that this is an SSSI, so hammers cannot be used on the bedrock or on the cliffs.
This site is an 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 please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information