Category: Sussex

From the famous chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters to the Eocene London Clay of Bracklesham Bay, Sussex has some of the best locations for Cretaceous and Eocene fossils in the UK. The best sites include are Eastbourne for its echinoids and chalk ammonites, and Bracklesham Bay for sharks’ teeth. You can also find dinosaur bones at Hastings and Fairlight. Many of the locations are foreshore collecting, which are ideal for families.

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Eastbourne

This location is highly fossiliferous, with chalk packed with ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK and is full of surprises. It is highly recommended to all fossil hunters who love the chalk. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Bracklesham Bay

There are nearly always people collecting at Bracklesham Bay. Fossils can simply be found washed up on the sand, and you can normally come back with bags full of decent finds, especially sharks’ teeth. During scouring tides, the fossiliferous Bracklesham Formation form the Eocene is exposed and the beach can be covered with ray and sharks’ teeth, and also bivalve shells. Occasionally, you can find corals, but you will definitely find lots of the often overlooked, large, single-celled foraminifera (Nummulites laevigatus). Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Seven Sisters

This site is world famous for its highly fossiliferous chalk, which is packed with a wide range of different echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK for its variety of fossils and is recommended to all keen chalk fossil hunters. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Bognor Regis

Bognor can be an outstanding London Clay location. Unlike the classic sites of Kent and Essex, this site yields insects, plant remains and a large number of brachiopods and bivalves. Some of these shells are enormous. When beach conditions are favourable, expect to find lots. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Beachy Head

This is a classic British chalk location and a must for experienced fossil hunters. This guide concentrates on access from Cow Gap to Beachy Head. Over just a relatively short distance, fossils can be collected from the Lower, Middle and Upper Chalk. Please refer to the Eastbourne guide for the Eastbourne to Cow Gap section. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Seaford

Depending on foreshore conditions, this can be an excellent location for chalk fossils. There is a foreshore platform immediately to the right of the steps, which is extremely rich in echinoids. You can see vast numbers of damaged ones in the rocks of the foreshore, but, if you look harder, you should be able to find some complete specimens. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Hastings

Hastings is one of the only places outside of the Isle of Wight where dinosaur bones can be found and this popular and important site has yielded some important finds over the years. Fish, shark, plant, reptile remains, bivalves and gastropods can also be collected. Keep a look out for dinosaur footprints. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Fairlight

This popular location near Hastings has yielded some important finds over the years. Sharks’ teeth, plants, reptile remains and shells can all be collected, and the site is exceptional for small mammal and fish remains. Crocodile teeth can also sometimes turn up. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Cooden

Cooden is located at the western end of the town of Bexhill. Along the foreshore, exposures of Weald Clay and Tunbridge Wells Sand can be seen. Fossils – including dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtle, plants and fish remains – can be found here. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Malling Down

Malling Down is a nature reserve to the west of Lewes, which contains an old, disused quarry. The actual quarry (also known as ‘Bridgwick Pit’) is within the reserve, but is not part of the reserve itself. A public footpath takes you right through to the middle of the quarry. Cretaceous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Park Farm Cutting

The Park Lane site is a road cutting in Pulborough that exposes the Sandgate Formation. Hard ironstones within the layer yield a variety of well-preserved bivalves. Although overgrown, the ironstones are highly fossiliferous. Therefore, once the bed is located, plenty of specimens should be found. Cretaceous, Roadside Cutting, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Birling Gap

Birling Gap is situated between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Indeed, both of these locations can also be visited from Birling Gap on a retreating tide. However, due to dangerous tides along this part of the coastline, these three locations have been split into separate guides, with separate access points. This guide concentrates on the area around the access point of Birling Gap. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Newhaven

Many echinoids can be found at Newhaven, in particular, Offaster pilula, which is very common – certain chalk blocks can be split open to yield numerous specimens of this small species. Also abundant (but often incomplete) are Echinocorys. If you walk as far as Peacehaven, you may be lucky enough to spot giant ammonites (probably Parapuzonisa or Havericeras) in the wave-cut platform. Do not hammer or damage these. Leave them for others to see – they are too big to get home and should not be touched. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Peacehaven

Some lovely echinoids can be found in the chalk at Peacehaven, including some superb, large Echinocorys cincta. This locality is also good for fish remains, which can sometimes be found on the foreshore. Fossils at Peacehaven are best found during scouring conditions. They can also be found in the fallen blocks on the beach. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Bexhill

Bexhill was made famous after the storms of November 2000 exposed dinosaur trackways on the foreshore. Since then, collectors have been finding a wide range of fossils, including fish, crocodile, turtle and dinosaur remains. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Little Bognor Common

In the middle of this public common is a working sand pit. Since it is on public land, there are no restrictions on collecting and you can collect from the spoil heaps and sides of the pit itself, away from the main site. With permission, you can also enter the main pit. Cretaceous, Working Pit, Rating: ♦♦