Tag: Cretaceous

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White Park Bay

Ten kilometres northwest of Ballycastle in Co. Antrim is White Park Bay. Successive layers of rock yield Mesozoic fossils including ammonites, belemnites and Gryphaea. However, the cliffs and platforms are protected, but many loose blocks containing fossils and some washed out fossils can be found. The beach is also known as one of the few places in the world to have “singing sand” – when conditions are right, the extremely fine sand vibrates to make a humming noise. The location is also known as a historic manufacturing hub for flint axes and arrow heads, due to the abundance of flint nodules found in the cliffs, with artefacts dating back as far as 8,000 BC. The landscape also features passage tombs looking out over the sea, where, on a clear day, the coast of Scotland can be seen.Cretaceous, Jurassic, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Keates Quarry

Two separate locations near Worth Matravers provide an opportunity to see where, 140mya, sauropod dinosaurs gathered at the shoreline of a shallow lagoon and to visit their incredible trackways. The nearby quarry provides bivalves, gastropods, fish remains, turtle bones and carapace fragments, mammal teeth and bones, and plant remains from this bygone environment. Cretaceous, Quarry (permission required) and Attraction, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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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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Compton Bay

The entire section of coast along Compton Bay provides a worthwhile day out, with opportunities to find pieces of dinosaur bone (mostly rolled) and possibly teeth; and to see the large number of dinosaur footprints scattered along the coast. This section is famous for the remains and footprints of dinosaurs, for which the Isle of Wight is famous. Both commonly occur on the foreshore. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Houghton Quarry

Houghton Quarry is an abandoned quarry, formerly used to extract chalk for a cement works onsite (which is no longer there). Quarrying stopped about 40 years ago, but, due to its size and terracing, only parts are overgrown, leaving an enormous amount of clean chalk. A large amount of this consists of boulders of various sizes on the quarry floor, yielding many good fossils. Collecting is not allowed here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Hooken Cliff

Hooken Cliff is the best location in Devon for finding fossils, in particular, echinoids, ammonites, fish and brachiopods, which are easy to find – you just never know what you may find. They can be found in the White Chalk Subgroup (Seaton Formation) and the Grey Chalk Subgroup and in the Upper Greensand. Cretaceous, Cliffs and 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 White Chalk Subgroup and Grey Chalk Subgroup. 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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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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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: ♦♦

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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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Danes Dyke

Famous for its many species of sponges, Danes Dyke is a must go location for anyone into chalk fossils. In fact, this is the best location in the UK for sponges. Echinoids, bivalves, brachiopods and crinoids can all be found too. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Bridlington

The beach at Bridlington is popular with tourists and ideal for children. However, towards Sewerby, the beach becomes increasingly rocky and it is here you can find excellent fossil sponges. Despite these being more common at Bridlington, Sewerby is picked over by collectors, so you are more likely to come across something. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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North Foreland

This stretch of chalk coastline can be accessed from Broadstairs to the south or Joss Bay to the north. Fossils can be found both in the chalk and in the abundant flint pebbles on the foreshore. Common finds include echinoids (sea urchins) and sponges. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Yaverland

This famous location is well known for dinosaur bones, reptile and fish remains, but you need the right conditions to have any luck, with the best collecting after winter and spring high tides. Yaverland is often sadly over collected. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Brook Bay

Brook Bay is popular for dinosaur fragments along the beach. Here, many rolled fragments get caught up in the shingle and you can find these remains by simply searching along the foreshore. Other reptile and larger bones can also be found. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Beer Head

The chalk at Beer Head is very hard, unless you are lucky enough to find boulders on the foreshore from the softer beds at the top of the cliffs. There are a huge variety of echinoid species to be found here and the location is also well known for ammonites, brachiopods and bivalves. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Swanage

This Cretaceous site represents an alternative to the many Jurassic sites of Dorset. It yields fossils from the chalk, including echinoids, bivalves, brachiopods and ammonites. However, fossils here are, less common than other chalk locations in Dorset. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Samphire Hoe

The Lower Chalk exposed at Samphire Hoe is highly fossiliferous. Brachiopods are most commonly found, with corals, urchins, ammonites, sharks’ teeth and more also present. Microfossils are extremely abundant within the chalk and can be extracted relatively easily from rock samples taken home Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Kingsdown

The coastline between Kingsdown and St Margaret’s Bay is made up of towering chalk cliffs. Some spectacular collapses have taken place over recent years, yielding a vast quantity of fresh chalk and flints to look over. However (and unfortunately), the rocks here are poorly fossiliferous. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Seaton

The Chalk and Upper Greensand at Seaton is highly fossiliferous and makes for ideal collecting. Ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods and bivalves can all be found. There are plenty of rocks and fresh falls to look through. Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Pinhay Bay

What makes Pinhay Bay so geologically interesting is the range of fossils that can be found from the Jurassic Lias (fish, ammonites, shells and belemnites) and from the Cretaceous Chalk (echinoids, shells and sea urchin spines). Jurassic, Cretaceous, Cliffs and Foreshorem, 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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Dover

This is a classic location and well worth a visit, subject to the access problems discussed below. Fossils are found both in the chalk and as flint casts. The scenery here is magnificent and it is hard not to be impressed by this stretch of coastline. However, access is now more difficult, the dramatic stairs down the cliff having now been closed. 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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White Nothe

Where else do you get to collect fossils from almost the full chalk successful along with the Greensand within just a few metres? This location is superb for its geology, but also for its cretaceous ammonites and other fossils. 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: ♦♦♦♦♦