Newhey Quarry is full of Calamities (fossil stems of giant, tree-like horsetails), bivalves, and brachiopods. Some of the most interesting finds at this site are the superb trace fossils, including ripple marks, worm burrows and ‘fish marks’.
♦ Head towards Milnrow on the M62.
♦ Turn off at Junction 21 and head towards Newhey. From here, follow the A663 and take a left turn along the A640. Almost immediately, you will pass a railway station. The former road and parking at this site are now closed, so you will need to park in one of the side roads near the quarry. The best road to park in is Haugh Lane, which is on the opposite side to the quarry.
♦ From here, cross over the A640, where you will see a school and a pub. Just before the pub are some large metal gates, which have many wheelie bins beside it. On the right hand side, you can gain access around the side of the take, which will take you up the former quarry road into the site. You used to be able to drive up this road and park in the car park, but this is no longer possible.
♦ The quarry road veers round to the right, where you will see the large quarry. From here, follow the footpath to the left of the quarry where the road reaches the bend, and follow the path taking a right turn towards the quarry. The path will eventually take you to the middle of the site.
♦ Ref: 53.60424°N, 2.09144°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Newhey Quarry is fairly productive for fossils, with most of the good finds being trace fossils, shells or fossil roots. You are certain to come away with something.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦ – Newhey Quarry is not suitable for younger children. The cliff faces are quite high and are constantly crumbling, but older children can collect from the base of the scree slope, as long as they don’t climb them.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – The site can be fairly difficult to find, as it is hidden behind houses. The former access is closed, which makes it a slightly longer trip than previously. However, if you can park in Haugh Lane, it is not that far.
TYPE: – This quarry is disused, but there are many good, clean cliff sections, spoil heaps and scree slopes. Most of the fossils can be found in the scree. However, you should get permission from the landowners before entering the quarry.
The quarry is quite large, but most of the fossils can be found at the bottom of scree slopes or on the quarry floor. Keep a look out for small, hard nodules. These mostly contain bivalves in good condition and are mostly found in the middle of the quarry. There are no fossils in the hard sandstone blocks.
The most fascinating finds at Newhey Quarry are the trace fossils. Massive slabs of ripple marks can be found throughout the quarry and some of these contain the marks where fish once brushed over the seabed. These are called Undichna britannica. Other trace fossils, such as worm tubes, are also common, as are the resting spots of brachiopod colonies.
The best fossils are found in hard nodules that periodically fall out of the cliff face. The pinnules tend to be in smaller, roundish nodules that are reddish orange in colour; whilst the Calamites are in larger, harder greyish nodules that resemble elliptical cylinders. The Stigmaria are often found nodule free, as they fall out of their surrounding matrix when they hit the ground.
The massive beds of Lower Coal Measures sandstone-the Milnrow Sandstone at New Hey, was the reason for the quarry’s existence and had been used extensively in the area for building use. Beneath this thick, prominent bed, a thin bed of mudstones and siltstones overlay a Marine Bed with bivalves (such as Carbonicola sp) and from which ripple marks can be found in a thin bed at the base.
The Milnrow Sandstone is buff in colour and darkens to ocherous. It is overlaid by a thick seam of coal. The rocks are Silesian (Upper Carboniferous) and are from the Westphalian Stage, Langsettian Substage, being 316–306 million years old.
Fossils are derived from the Milnrow Sandstone, which constitutes thin beds separated by layers of white mica, varying to coarse massive cross-bedded grit.
Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used; and hard hats and high visibility jackets should be worn at all active quarries. This quarry is disused, but the cliff face constantly crumbles, so a hard hat is still recommended.
Remember to take lots of paper, so you can wrap your finds. In addition, chisel picks, specimen bags and walking boots are recommended.
There are no restrictions at this site.