Category: Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a large county that features a number of excellent locations for collecting fossils. These are all Jurassic, with common fossils including corals, shells and ammonites. One of the easiest places to collect from is Steeple Ashton, which yields fossils from ploughed fields accessible from public footpaths. Corals from these can be easily and safely collected. Wootton Basset has a famous mud spring, which, although on private land, has nearby streams that cut through the same fossil-rich beds. Other locations include Coate Water and Maud Heath’s Causeway, which are rich in Oxfordian ammonites.

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Wootton Bassett

Wootton Bassett is an incredibly interesting and unique location. Fossils are found in a stream, which washes them from the famous ‘Wootton Bassett Mud Spring’. The mud spring erupts from time to time, bringing fossils from the underlying Ampthill Clay to the surface, where they are washed out by a stream from the spring. While the spring itself is fenced off, the stream is accessible. Jurassic, Stream Embankment, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Sandridge Park

This disused sandpit (known as the Sahara Sandpit) is now being used for landfill, but a special area has been designated as a RIGS, because of its geological importance. Entrance to the site can be obtained by prior arrangement from the occupants of the house next to the sandpit, who will open the gates for you. They are usually very accommodating to visitors. Jurassic, Disused Pit, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Steeple Ashton

The fields around Steeple Ashton in Wiltshire yield a large number of superb corals when they are ploughed, which are accessible by public footpaths. This guide examines one such field, which is south of the road to the Keevil Airfield and, because this field is regularly ploughed, contains well-preserved corals. It also has access by means of a good public footpath. Jurassic, Ploughed Fields, Rating: ♦♦♦♦