Category: East Midlands

The East Midlands covers several locations in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. This area is underlain by part of the Jurassic Lias. The East Midlands mainline used to cross Leicestershire, cutting through many types of rock and the deep cutting at Tilton-on-the-Hill is one good example of the railway cuttings left behind that can be visited. Northamptonshire has a few old quarries which are Jurassic age. One of the sites that is publically accessible is at Irchester.

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Houghton Quarry

Houghton Quarry is an abandoned quarry, formerly used to extract chalk for a cement works onsite (which is no longer there). Quarrying stopped about 40 years ago, but, due to its size and terracing, only parts are overgrown, leaving an enormous amount of clean chalk. A large amount of this consists of boulders of various sizes on the quarry floor, yielding many good fossils. Collecting is not allowed here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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This site is a disused railway cutting near Tilton-on-the-Hill, which is extremely rich in fossils. Now fairly overgrown, there is just one small area of collecting where the cliffs are still accessible. The site is a SSSI, for the diversity of its fossils, its geological important and for the living fauna and flora that can be seen here. It is also a nature reserve. One key feature is the presence of two thick limestone beds – crammed full of brachiopods – which can be easily collected from by looking in the loose scree. Jurassic, Disused Railway Cutting, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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A few scattered rocks can be seen along the banks of the footpath, within this very old and overgrown railway cutting. The rocks are from the Blisworth Limestone Formation and are rich in fossils, such as echinoids and brachiopods. This site is designated as an SSSI, so hammering is not permitted on any of the rocks here. Jurassic, Disused Railway Cutting, Rating: ♦

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This is an unusual location, where a public footpath runs right through the middle of a very large, newly re-opened quarry, which was originally a series of smaller, disused quarries. The quarry has no gates or barriers and contains a huge variety of rocks to explore, including a glacial bed, where you can find just about anything. This site also has areas of deep water, so care should be taken at all times. Jurassic, Working Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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To the southwest of Cogenhoe is an extremely overgrown quarry on the top of a hill. Although the quarry itself has now become too overgrown to collect from, the public footpath, which takes you to the quarry, climbs through several different geological formations and rocks are scattered across the fields next to the footpaths. Ploughing uncovers the rocks; and it is in them that you can find fossils. Jurassic, Ploughed Fields, Rating: ♦♦

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Vale of Belvoir

The Vale of Belvoir is an area rich in fossils from the Lias. The bedrock is close to the surface and fossils can be collected from ploughed fields. This particular location should only be visited between late September and April, when the fields have been ploughed and the crops have not begun to grow. Jurassic, Ploughed Fields, Rating: ♦♦♦♦