Category: Suffolk

The county of Suffolk is well known for Pleistocene (Ice Age) and Pliocene deposits. There are also some Eocene London Clay localities. Although not as popular with fossil hunters as other locations, Suffolk actually has some excellent places to collect. From finding shark and fish teeth at Ramsholt, to remains of Ice Age mammals, such as mammoths, a good variety can be found. Suffolk also has boulder clay locations, where older rocks from other areas of the UK have been transported and dumped by glaciers. This means that, in Suffolk, you can collect ammonites and ichthyosaur remains that are usually found in places like Yorkshire and Dorset. Suffolk is also one of the best counties to collect fossil molluscs.

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Sudbourne Park

There are two classic pits within Sudbourne Park. Both have become very overgrown in recent years, but sections are cleared from time to time to keep these SSSIs accessible and available for further research. Rich shell beds of Coralline Crag yield a variety of fossils, which can be easily collected from when sections are cleared. Pliocene, Spoil Heap and Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Gedgrave

The cliffs at Gedgrave, which run along the east bank of the River Butley, were previously completely overgrown for quite a number of years, despite being recognised as an SSSI for their geological and palaeontological importance. However, as part of Natural England’s conservation of SSSI sites, a small, three metre section has been fully excavated making this site accessible once again. Pliocene, Cliffs, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Easton Bavents

Easton Bavents is the best location in the UK for finding Pliocene mammal remains and represents the only publically accessible site where mammal remains can be found in situ from the Norwich Crag. The location is of international importance, although fossils are limited to favourable tides. Today, fossils are uncommon, due to the thinning of the beds following many years of extensive erosion. Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Bawdsey

It has only been in recent years that Bawdsey is once again being washed out by the sea, but this time it is a small cliff north of the famous (now overgrown) Red Crag cliffs. However, the London Clay on the foreshore is rich in fish, bird and shark remains. Eocene, Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Chillesford Church Pit

This is the only place where the Norwich Crag can be seen deposited on top of the Red Crag. These Pliocene crags are rich in bivalves and foraminifera, but the shell beds are dominated by just one shell. Due to its geological importance, this site is an SSSI, but bivalves can be easily collected from the scree slopes without the need for any tools. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Shellpits Cottages

Situated in Aldringham, on the road to Thorpeness, is an area of woodland owned by the Forestry Commission. Right in the middle of this forest are three cottages, marked on maps as ‘Shellpits Cottages’. They were named after the famous crag pits mined for their fossils shells, which used to be ground up and given to chickens as a cheap form of calcium feed to harden their eggs. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦

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Corton

Ammonites, belemnites and reptile remains can all be found in the boulder clay, along with many erratic rocks full of shells. The foreshore sometimes yields fossil wood, seeds and bone from the Forest Bed during times of scouring. This used to be a highly productive site, but the sea defence limits scouring.Pleistocene, Erratics (Jurassic, Cretaceous), Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Capel Green

The pit at Capel Green provides an excellent opportunity to collect shells from the Red Crag. It is next to the road and disused, but has two large, clear faces full of shells. In addition, shells can be collected from the quarry floor or the nearby spoil heap. Evidence of cross bedding is also clearly visible. Pliocene, Part Worked Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Broom Pit

The Coralline Crag at Broom Pit is extremely fossiliferous and rich in a wide variety of molluscs and bryozoans. You will be sure to come home with plenty of finds. The shells are in excellent condition and some are very large. It is a site definitely worth visiting. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Gisleham Quarry

This disused quarry contains good sections of the chalky boulder clay seen at Pakefield and Corton. The rain washes fossils out of the beds, and you can find ammonites, belemnites and (if lucky) reptile remains on the surface of the exposures. Erratics (Jurassic, Cretaceous), Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Easton Wood

During favourable scouring conditions, Easton Wood exposes Norwich Crag shell beds along the foreshore. These are extremely rich in mammal remains and are the best preserved bones from any Norwich Crag site. Although highly productive, scouring only occurs every few years, although after gale force storms, mammal remains can often be washed ashore, lifted by the waves from the seafloor. Shell beds are also sometimes exposed in sporadic pockets along the cliff, but bones from these upper shell beds are rare. Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Ramsholt

Ramsholt is one of the best locations for fossils in Suffolk, yielding sharks’ teeth, lobsters, fruit and shells from the London Clay, shells, sharks’ teeth from the Red Crag, corals, echinoids from the Coralline, and complete crabs, fish remains and sharks’ teeth from the basement bed. Eocene, Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Crag Pit Farm

Crag Pit Farm is a classic Coralline Crag site and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). It is rich in bryozoans and well-documented wave-features in the sands. There are few other fossils, but it is certainly a location to visit for anyone who is interested in bryozoans. Pliocene, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Pakefield

This is an excellent location where you can find almost anything, such as ammonites, shells, belemnites, reptiles (for example, ichthyosaurs), echinoids and more from the boulder clay; and mammalian and bird remains from the Forest Bed during scouring conditions. Pleistocene, Erratics (Jurassic, Cretaceous), Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Covehithe

Unlike the other nearby Norwich Crag locations, Covehithe does not yield mammal remains, although they can occasionally turn up, washed from the seabed or from nearby Easton Wood. What makes Covehithe interesting is a series of thick shell beds below beach level, where shells are exposed in life position, along with a black carbon layer containing fossil seeds. This is the only place where these can be found in the Pliocene Crags. Glacial flint fossils can also be collected. Erratics (Cretaceous), Pliocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Nacton

Nacton Shore is a location on the River Orwell, where London Clay is exposed in a small cliff and on the foreshore. The foreshore at Nacton and Levington has yielded a large number of reptile remains, including one complete skeleton. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦