The beach at Cogden, near West Bexington, is next to Hive Beach at Burton Bradstock. It is a popular walk for families and dog walkers, with Hive Beach cafe and toilets a short stroll away. At Cogden Beach, the cliffs are made up of the Jurassic Frome Clay and bivalves and brachiopods are the most common fossils.
♦ The beach can be accessed from the National Trust car park at Cogden. From here, a short walk descends to the wonderful sandy beach. Turn right (west) and the cliffs soon appear and continue to Hive Beach.
♦ Alternatively, park at the National Trust car park at Hive Beach and walk east to Cogden Beach.
♦ Postcode: DT6 4RL (Cogden), DT6 4RF (Hive Beach)
♦ Grid Ref: SY 49641 88581
♦ Ref: SY 66016 77304
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – Fossils in the Frome Clay are not common, although a few specimens should be found.
CHILDREN: ♦♦♦♦♦ – This is an excellent site for children. Cogden Beach is a clean, sandy beach at the eastern end and there is a cafe with toilets at Hive Beach to the west. It also makes a wonderful family walk from Cogden car park to Hive Beach cafe and back along the coastal path.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦♦♦ – Access is very easy, with nearby parking at Cogden or Hive Beach.
TYPE: – Fossils are found in the clay cliffs and within loose slabs of rock at the eastern end of the section.
Fossil collecting requires some persistence at this site. At Cogden Beach, as the low cliffs appear, the Frome Clay reveals a white cementstone bed, which is fractured, with pieces loose on the beach. Some mudstones also appear at beach level and the cliff is somewhat degraded, due to landslip. Both the cementstone and mudstone reveal bivalves and small gastropods. However, the most common find are slabs of blue-grey oyster bed.
The cliff increases in height towards Hive Beach and is known as Cliff End. Here, the Boueti Bed is exposed in the irregular ground immediately inshore of the cliff edge. Weathered brachiopods occur on the surface and include Goniorhychia boueti, Avonthyris langonensis and Dictyothyris coarctata. The cliffs below, at beach level, may also contain these brachiopods, but it requires hard work to find them. The Boueti Bed defines the base of the Forest Marble Formation, which overlies the Frome Clay. More common are serpulid tubes and bivalves (particularly Gryphaea). Corals and echinoids are also present, but are rare.
The fossils are Jurassic (Bathonian) in age.
You do not need any tools here. Fossils can be picked up loose from the beach and the clay cliff.
The site provides a safe and easy way to collect fossils. However, do not climb the cliff and be aware of incoming and rough tides, particularly during winter months.
This site is an SSSI and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast. 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.