Category: Norfolk

The North Norfolk Coast is well known for having a mixture of Cretaceous fossils, such as echinoids, belemnites and brachiopods, and Quaternary deposits yielding the bones of Ice Age mammals. Often, both can be found at the same location. The most well-known location is West Runton. Here, the discovery of the most complete mammoth in the UK was found. You can also find sponges and echinoids (Micraster) along the foreshore. Norfolk would be an outstanding local for fossil hunters, if it wasn’t for its reliance on tides and scouring conditions. Therefore, the spring and winter months are the best time to collect here.

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Trimingham

Trimingham has the youngest chalk on the UK mainland, from which a few shells can be found in a small cliff face. The chalk has actually been tilted and folded by glaciation, and is a geologically important site. There is easy access onto the beach, although the road turning is easily missed. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Mundesley

Mundesley was once an important site for Cromer Forest Bed material, with a number of large vertebrate specimens being found from foreshore deposits. Today, the sea defence prevents this bed from being washed out, although the occasional bone can turn up. However, erratic fossils, mostly of flint echinoids and sponges, can be found. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Sidestrand

The cliffs from Trimingham to Sidestrand are some of the most spectacular glacial formations along the northern Norfolk coast. These tall, rapidly eroding cliffs here display an array of various colours from the sands, tills and clays. Fossils are mostly Jurassic and Cretaceous erratics. Erratics (Jurassic, Cretaceous), Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Happisburgh

Happisburgh is famous for its rapid rates of erosion and a graveyard of previous attempts to stop erosion with old broken sea walls. It is actually the glacial beds that yield fossils, which consist mainly of molluscs, but also other erratics can be found. Happisburgh does have Forest Bed, but this is rarely exposed. Pleistocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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East Runton

East Runton is the best location for mammal remains from the Pastonian Stage interglacial. It also is one of the only locations where you can see younger Pleistocene beds below huge chalk cliffs. The chalk was transported here during the ice age and is spectacular to see. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Sheringham

Near the lifeboat station on the foreshore, chalk is exposed during scouring conditions. Corals and shark remains have been found at this location at these times, although scouring only happens a few times a year. If you do visit during favourable conditions, you should find some nice specimens. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Overstrand

Overstrand is a foreshore collecting location. Chalk is exposed during low tide, especially during scouring conditions or winter/spring months. The chalk is highly fossiliferous, yielding many echinoids, sponges and molluscs. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Weybourne

The chalk at Weybourne yields echinoids and brachiopods, but resting on this is the Wroxham Crag. This yields mammal and fish remains, along with a wide variety of molluscs in the thick shell beds and crag sands. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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West Runton

This is the location of the famous ‘West Runton Elephant’ find. From the West Runton Fresh Water Bed, mammal and fish remains are common, along with freshwater shells. On the foreshore, during scouring tides, the chalk yields echinoids and sponges. Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Hunstanton

The famous red and white cliffs of Hunstanton are visited by thousands of people each year simply to see this spectacular natural geological feature. The Red Rock and White Lower Chalk are rich in fossils including echinoids, fish, sharks’ teeth, bivalves and brachiopods, ammonites and more. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Crimplesham

At Crimplesham, Kimmeridge Clay and Oxford Clay are exposed. Within the Oxford Clay are large nodules, which contain ammonites, brachiopods and bivalves. The quarry is slowly being backfilled, so collecting is becoming more limited. Jurassic, Working Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦