Category: Somerset

Somerset has mostly Jurassic and Triassic rocks. However, at the very western fringe, there are Devonian and Carboniferous rocks, from which fossils can be found. Although coastal areas of Jurassic rocks are fairly limited, they can be very productive and Somerset benefits from not being as commercialised for fossil hunting as Dorset, so you can often find more. The town of Watchet is the central point, with locations both sides of the town for finding ammonites, reptiles, belemnites and crinoids. Blue Anchor is the best location for the famous Triassic Bone bed, which is also found at Aust along the River Severn. Weston-super-Mare and Portishead are excellent locations for fossil corals.

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The fields around Kingstone, Somerset are Lower Jurassic (Pliensbachian to Toarcian) age, approximately 190 to 183myrs old. This is the Upper Lias the Beacon Limestone Formation (formerly, the ‘Junction Bed’).

Kingstone

The fields around Ilchester in Somerset are famed for their fossils from the Upper Lias Beacon Limestone Formation (formerly, the so-called ‘Junction Bed’). In particular, ammonites are sought after and, after ploughing, can be found in some numbers at this location, on the surface of the fields. Jurassic, Fields, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Brown’s Folly

Brown’s Folly is located in a nature reserve. Fossils can be found everywhere in the old quarries in the area and many exposures of Great Oolite can be seen. The reserve is managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust and kept clear by the Bath Geological Society. The site is an SSSI, so no hammering on the bedrock is allowed, but loose material can be picked up and collected. Jurassic, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦

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Lilstock

Rich in reptile remains, you can find bones at Lilstock on the foreshore and in the cliff. In fact, complete skeletons are regularly found. Lilstock also yields ammonites, shells and fish remains. The Lilstock Formation contains fossils in the Triassic beds exposed along the foreshore. Triassic, Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Blue Anchor

The cliffs at Blue Anchor contain a thin Triassic bone bed overlying Jurassic deposits from the Rhaetian Penarth series. This is full of reptile and fish remains, similar to Aust on the River Severn. There are plenty of blocks to split. Triassic, Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Chilcompton

The Chilcompton site is an old spoil heap form coal mining days, with a publically accessible footpath through the middle. Although now overgrown, the footpath still provides coal measure shale debris, which yields plant remains. Carboniferous, Spoil, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Stolford

Stolford represents the most easterly coastal exposures of the Jurassic Lias in Somerset. There are no cliffs here, just a large foreshore platform consisting of limestone and shale bands. Sadly, the foreshore platform is often covered in algae and mud, making collecting quite hard. Jurassic, Foreshore, Rating: ♦

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Stocker Hole

Stocker Hole is a large disused quarry to the south of Radstock, The quarry has a footpath running right through the middle and contains Carboniferous Black Rock Limestone. Corals, and brachiopods are the most common fossils here, with Bryozoans also being found. Carboniferous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Writhlington

Writhlington spoil heap was created by the Geologists’ Association to preserve fossiliferous spoil for future study and is open to the public for fossil collecting. It has yielded hundreds of plants and insects species and is well documented. There is plenty to be found and, occasionally, the spoil is turned over to allow for better collecting (but this has not happened for a while). Carboniferous, Spoil, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Kilve

This location is similar to Quantoxhead. Kilve is another location for collecting ammonites and reptile remains. However, vertebras are as common here as ammonites. It is also set in tranquil surroundings and is ideal for all the family to enjoy. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Watchet

Watchet is rich in reptile remains and ammonites are also common. There are also some spectacular faults, which can be seen along with fossil casts of giant ammonites on the foreshore. This is a must-visit location for anyone in the area who is into fossils. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Quantoxhead

Quiet, peaceful and tranquil, Quantoxhead has several kilometres of tall Jurassic cliffs and a very long wave-cut platform. Many fossils, including some superb ammonites and reptile remains, can be found on this platform. There are also plenty of rock pools for the kids. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Hinkley Point

At Hinkley Point, you can find complete fish and reptile skeletons exposed on the foreshore. Reptile and fish remains can also be found in the cliff or on the foreshore, for example, vertebras, scales and ribs. In addition, ammonites and shells can be found. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Portishead

Portishead is an interesting location with both Carboniferous and Devonian rocks. At Battery Point, many corals and crinoids can be collected from the rocks on the foreshore and there are plenty to be found. Further along Woodhill Bay, fish remains are also commonly found. Carboniferous, Devonian, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Weston-Super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare is a fascinating geological location. Underwater volcanoes during the Carboniferous period sometimes buried life forms and preserved them in the rocks now exposed on the foreshore and cliff. Well-preserved corals, bryozoans, algae, bivalves and brachiopods can be found. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦