Category: Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight, although just a small island, is famously known as “Dinosaur Island”, being the richest place in the UK for dinosaur remains, and home to a handful of new species. It is often featured on the TV in a host of various documentaries. Apart from dinosaurs, the Isle of Wight has a remarkable diversity spanning the whole of the Cretaceous period. At some locations, such as Alum Bay and Whitecliff Bay, you can see the transition of these beds in vertical strata. There are younger Oligocene deposits in the north that yields mammal remains, crocodile remains and slightly older Eocene beds at various locations.

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Fossil Collecting at Compton Bay

Compton Bay

The entire section of coast along Compton Bay provides a worthwhile day out, with opportunities to find pieces of dinosaur bone (mostly rolled) and possibly teeth; and to see the large number of dinosaur footprints scattered along the coast. This section is famous for the remains and footprints of dinosaurs, for which the Isle of Wight is famous. Both commonly occur on the foreshore. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Shanklin is a very good location on the Isle of Wight for Lower Greensand fossils, in particular, dinosaur remains and molluscs. When the Lower Greensand is exposed to air and left to dry, it becomes extremely hard. However, when fresh and, especially when exposed on the foreshore, it is like clay. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Gurnard Bay

Gurnard Bay is a classic location for finding insects. These are found in the Bembridge Marls (Eocene) and over 200 species have been found. Today, the famous insect bed has become less productive, but specimens can still be found. Oligocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Thorness Bay

Thorness Bay sees a continuation of the Hamstead Beds, which can also be seen at Hamstead Bay and Yarmouth, and the start of the famous Insect Beds of the Bembridge Marls seen at Gurnard Bay. However, the beds are much thinner and less productive. Eocene, Oligocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Whitecliff Bay

Whitecliff Bay is a geologist’s heaven. Where else can you collect from the Upper Chalk, London Clay, Reading Clay, Bagshot Beds, Bracklesham Beds, Barton Clay, Fishbourne member, Cliff End Member and Totland Bay Member, plus much more? Eocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Shepherds Chine

Shepherd’s Chine is a superb location that yields some superb fish remains, lobsters, ammonites, brachiopods, bivalves, and occasional reptile and dinosaur bones. During the right conditions, you can come back with some great specimens. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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This famous location is well known for dinosaur bones, reptile and fish remains, but you need the right conditions to have any luck, with the best collecting after winter and spring high tides. Yaverland is often sadly over collected. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Brighstone Bay

Brighstone Bay is famous for the partial sauropod skeleton found by Portsmouth University, and reptile and dinosaur remains are often found along this coastline. Barnes High was also featured on the live television programme, ‘The Big Dig’. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Brook Bay

Brook Bay is popular for dinosaur fragments along the beach. Here, many rolled fragments get caught up in the shingle and you can find these remains by simply searching along the foreshore. Other reptile and larger bones can also be found. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Rocken End

In a peaceful corner of the Isle of Wight, Rocken End is a less visited location with a small inland quarry. It is ideal for anyone interested in ammonites and other molluscs, and also makes for an excellent day out for all the family. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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The Early Oligocene beds at Yarmouth are highly fossiliferous and mammal, crocodile, turtle, crustaceans and fish remains can all be found. Molluscs, plants and seeds can also be found simply lying on the foreshore. Oligocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦