Category: Kent

Kent has some of the best sites in the UK for fossils. The Isle of Sheppey is the best location in the UK for the Eocene London Clay, with sharks’ teeth, lobsters, turtles, fish, plants and crabs all to be found. Folkestone is the best location for Gault Clay fossils, with ammonites being very common; and Kent is also a very popular location for chalk fossils. The chalk cliffs of Dover are world famous. Echinoids are very common and some of the finest are found here in Kent. Overall, you could say that Kent has a fantastic mix of geology, with very productive sites.

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Abbey Wood

Abbey Wood’s highly fossiliferous shell beds are open to the public for digging, with prior permission. The Eocene beds here are extremely rich in fossil sharks’ teeth, fish, mammal and bird remains, and fossil shells. Fossils are best found by onsite sieving, and is often visited by schools and society organised events. Eocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Betteshanger

Betteshanger (formerly Fowlmead) Coutry Park is a great site for Carboniferous plants, which are abundant and come from Kent’s former Betteshanger Colliery. Fossils are found in spoil, which is maintained by Geoconservation Kent Rigs. This is a perfect site for all the family, which is easy to access. Carboniferous, Spoil, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Warden Point (Isle of Sheppey)

Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey is the most popular site for collecting London Clay fossils. Easily accessed, with lots of fresh fossils constantly being washed out. A wide variety of fossils, can be found including everything from turtles, lobsters and crabs to sharks’ teeth, snakes, crocodiles, molluscs and plant remains. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Minster (Isle of Sheppey)

Minster on the Isle of Sheppey is another excellent site for collecting London Clay fossils and often has different fossils from those at Warden Point. Plant remains (especially seeds and fruit) are particularly common at this end, with the smaller fossils amongst areas of pyrite being the easiest to collect. However, a longer walk is required to get to the fossiliferous areas, compared with Warden Point. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Beltinge (Herne Bay)

Beltinge (Herne Bay) is one of the most popular locations for collecting sharks’ teeth in the UK, especially for international visitors. You can usually find teeth all year round, but this location is best visited during extremely low tides, such as spring tides. At these times, fossil hunters across the UK and Europe flock to Herne Bay to visit its highly fossiliferous beds. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Tankerton

When beach conditions are favourable, Tankerton can be a very productive site. Rich in fish, lobsters, crabs, gastropods, bivalves and sharks’ teeth, a diverse range of species can be found here. London Clay is exposed on the foreshore, mostly in patches, but, during scouring conditions, more extensively. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Reculver

The east of Herne Bay marks a dramatic change from rich fossil-bearing Eocene clays to the sandy cliffs of Reculver. Although sharks’ teeth do occur in the Thanet Sands, this location is mainly for those interested in collecting bivalves. These are found within foreshore exposures and the shell beds exposed within the cliff. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Allhallows-on-Sea

Allhallows-on-Sea is a London Clay foreshore location, northwest of the Isle of Sheppey on the south side of the River Thames. The actual site runs along the beach next to a large holiday park, which is protected by a 1.8km-long seawall. Success at this location is often subject to beach conditions, which, if favourable, can yield nodules containing lobsters and especially crabs. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Studd Hill

The Studd Hill location is a foreshore exposure, which begins at Hampton Pier and ends at Long Rock (both are marked on OS 1:50,000 maps). In recent years, continuous erosion has been exposing the London Clay more frequently, although fossils are still not as common as they are at the popular neighbouring sites of Tankerton and Herne Bay. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Lower Upnor

Lower Upnor is probably the most unproductive of all the London Clay sites in Kent, but is situated not far from the Isle of Sheppey and also along the route to Elmley Hill, both of which are covered on this website. Not only do the cliffs contain a lot of vegetation and are badly slumped, but the foreshore often covered in rubbish and the beds here are also from the less productive Division B1 of the London Clay. However, there are still fossils to be found. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦

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Wye Downs

There are several old quarries and pits around the Wye Downs. These cover two chalk formations – the Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation and New Pit Formation. One particularly accessible quarry is featured in this guide, which cuts through the New Pit Formation. Brachiopods are most common fossils here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarries, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Peene Quarry

Peene Quarry is a country park just north of the Channel Tunnel. It has limited parking, but is publically accessible. Although badly overgrown, the site does have one good section with plenty of Upper Cretaceous rocks from the Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation to look through. One particularly accessible quarry is featured in this guide, which cuts through the New Pit Formation. Brachiopods and bivalves are the most common fossils here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarries, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Elmley Hill

Elmley Hill is situated on the south side of the Isle of Sheppey, on the opposite side to the classic London Clay section of Minster to Warden Point. It is not a particularly rich location for fossils, but nevertheless, some important finds have been made over the years. Getting to this location involves a long walk. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Seasalter

The huge expanse of London Clay exposed on Seasalter’s foreshore lends the location a bleak atmosphere. It is not the most picturesque of fossil hunting sites, but occasionally stunning phosphatic fossils can be found. Perseverance is rewarded here. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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North Foreland

This stretch of chalk coastline can be accessed from Broadstairs to the south or Joss Bay to the north. Fossils can be found both in the chalk and in the abundant flint pebbles on the foreshore. Common finds include echinoids (sea urchins) and sponges. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Folkestone

Folkestone is internationally famous for the ‘Channel Tunnel’, but also for the cliffs of Gault Clay at Copt Point and in the Warren and East Wear Bay. These rapidly eroding cliffs yield a vast range of ammonites, crabs, echinoids, belemnites, brachiopods, bivalves and much, much more. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Samphire Hoe

The Lower Chalk exposed at Samphire Hoe is highly fossiliferous. Brachiopods are most commonly found, with corals, urchins, ammonites, sharks’ teeth and more also present. Microfossils are extremely abundant within the chalk and can be extracted relatively easily from rock samples taken home Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Kingsdown

The coastline between Kingsdown and St Margaret’s Bay is made up of towering chalk cliffs. Some spectacular collapses have taken place over recent years, yielding a vast quantity of fresh chalk and flints to look over. However (and unfortunately), the rocks here are poorly fossiliferous. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Kingsgate

This is a popular location for families and dog walkers. The chalk on the foreshore and any fallen boulders or cobbles can be investigated for fossils. Although finds are fairly plentiful, they are often broken. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Dumpton Gap

At this site, fossils can be found in accumulations of flint. They can also be found in the chalk foreshore and in fallen boulders. They can also be seen in the cliffs. Finds are not particularly abundant, but you should go home with something. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Birchington

Birchington is generally a poorly fossiliferous location. However, with patience, some specimens can be collected. Finds include Echinocorys, Micraster and Conulus echinoids (sea urchins), as well as bivalves, sponges and belemnites. Cretaceous, 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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Dover

This is a classic location and well worth a visit, subject to the access problems discussed below. Fossils are found both in the chalk and as flint casts. The scenery here is magnificent and it is hard not to be impressed by this stretch of coastline. However, access is now more difficult, the dramatic stairs down the cliff having now been closed. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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St Margaret’s Bay

The picturesque bay at St. Margaret’s is eroded out of Conacian Upper Chalk. Fossils can be found in the cliffs, boulders and shingle both to the east and the west of the bay. The location is picturesque and there is a very nice pub to relax in after fossil hunting. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦