Day: June 14, 2016

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Tidmoor Point

Tidmoor Point is a small promontory of highly productive Oxford Clay, situated along the shoreline of The Fleet lagoon, opposite Chesil Beach. Renowned for its pyrite and limonitic casts of small ammonites, the cliff here is very low. Apart from ammonites, the site is also rich in belemnites, crinoids, crabs, lobsters, sharks, reptiles, crocodiles, fish and molluscs. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Gedgrave

The cliffs at Gedgrave, which run along the east bank of the River Butley, were previously completely overgrown for quite a number of years, despite being recognised as an SSSI for their geological and palaeontological importance. However, as part of Natural England’s conservation of SSSI sites, a small, three metre section has been fully excavated making this site accessible once again. Pliocene, Cliffs, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Strawberry Wood

This is a disused Carboniferous limestone quarry, within a small wood. It is very rich in fossils. Studies indicate important changes in the palaeo-environments of the deposits and in the varied macrofossil assemblages from the surrounding Carboniferous sediments, which are of similar age. Due to the importance of the site, keep collecting to a minimum. Carboniferous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head is at the most easterly end of Dorset and is a popular area for hikers. The cliffs are tall, but surrounded by water, with Christchurch Harbour just 400m round the corner to the east. These are Barton Age and are rich in fossil seeds. Therefore, this is an ideal location for the microfossil collector. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Danes Dyke

Famous for its many species of sponges, Danes Dyke is a must go location for anyone into chalk fossils. In fact, this is the best location in the UK for sponges. Echinoids, bivalves, brachiopods and crinoids can all be found too. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Bridlington

The beach at Bridlington is popular with tourists and ideal for children. However, towards Sewerby, the beach becomes increasingly rocky and it is here you can find excellent fossil sponges. Despite these being more common at Bridlington, Sewerby is picked over by collectors, so you are more likely to come across something. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Pegwell Bay

The cliff section between Pegwell Bay and Ramsgate Harbour is composed of Upper Chalk. There are many fallen blocks to investigate for sea urchin fossils, with other common finds including crinoid stem parts, brachiopods and starfish plates. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Helmsdale

Helmsdale is the best place to collect Jurassic fossils in Scotland. Geologists have been fascinated by the strange ‘Boulder Beds’ for many years and some questions have remained unanswered as to how the beds were formed. The area is rich in reptile remains, giant corals, fish remains and the occasional ammonite. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Thurso

Thurso is famous for its rich fish beds, and fish remains (especially scales) can be found everywhere along the foreshore – the rocks are full them. Fish teeth and complete fish have also been found. Devonian, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Achanarras Quarry

Achanarras Quarry once constantly yielded complete Middle Devonian fish from the Old Red Sandstone. However, it has been disused for many years and is now over-collected, but still very rich in remains. Complete fish can still be found, but are now rare. Devonian, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Brora

At Brora, Jurassic rocks are carried down and deposited from further upstream. These lie around the mouth of the river (River Brora) and along the beaches at the town. They can contain ammonites and shells. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Eathie

This is the official ‘Hugh Miller Trail’. Hugh Miller was one of the most important Scottish geologists of the 19th century. Ammonites and fossil fish can be found here. The footpath down to the shore was created by Hugh Miller himself. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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River Brora

The tall Jurassic cliffs along the River Brora yield ammonites and belemnites. You will need wellington boots as the river runs next to the cliff face. Ammonites can be seen exposed on the ledges and platforms beside the river. Jurassic, River Cliffs, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Kintradwell

Kintradwell is difficult to access, but if the ‘Boulder Beds’ are exposed, this site can be highly fossiliferous. Kintradwell’s rocky foreshore can also produce some surprises. However, be prepared for a long walk. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Baile an Or

Baile an Or is ideal for families and children. It is set in beautiful scenery and you can pan for gold here. There is actually quite a lot of gold, although they are tiny grains. However, some people have collected enough gold to make a wedding ring and other jewellery. Gold Panning, River, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Portgower

What looks like an ordinary rocky beach, covered in seaweed, is actually rich in corals, ammonites and shells, although you need to work hard to find them. At Portgower, the rocks exposed are from the Jurassic and, if you split them, can yield flat ammonites and shells. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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John O’Groats

This location is most famously known for being the furthest point in the northeast of the UK mainland. This location is actually highly rich in fish remains (especially large fish scales) from Middle Devonian, John O’Groats Sandstone Group. Devonian, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Balintore

A Jurassic fault along the Balintore foreshore is well exposed here. Fossil oysters are quite common, but belemnites can also be found. In addition, during the right conditions, Jurassic ammonites can be found. The cliffs here consist of Devonian strata. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Lothbeg

Lothbeg is a tiny Hamlet in northern Scotland. Fossils can be found in the Jurassic rocks on the foreshore. Kimmeridge Clay is often exposed and plants can be found in the soft Lothbeg Beds. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Crakaig

Crakaig is a tiny hamlet in northern Scotland, where fossils can be found in the Jurassic rocks on the foreshore. However, some of them – the Kimmeridge Clay – are only exposed during scours. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Tarbat Ness

At Tarbat Ness, the Devonian rocks can contain small fish remains. Scales can be seen on ledges at the headland within a pebble bed. Larger fish fragments can also be found, but are less common. Devonian, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Cromarty

Cromarty is home to Hugh Miller’s Cottage. He collected several superb fossil fish in nodules from this location, but these are now very rare, due to their high value and the slow pace of erosion here. Devonian, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦