Tag: Fossil Collecting

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Valley of the Rocks

The Valley of the Rocks is a popular tourist destination, especially for hikers, artists and writers. The dry valley has cut through Devonian Lynton beds, which are highly fossiliferous. The coastal road, west of Lynton, runs through this valley, with plenty of car parking space for visitors. It has been popular ever since a number of famous writers visited the area in the sixteenth century.
Devonian, Outcrops, Scree, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Rigg

This is a very dramatic location, but Rigg is one of the least visited fossils locations on Skye. The reason is that this is only for the experienced collector. It has a fascinating coastline of Lower and Middle Jurassic sediments. Rich in fossils, archaeology and local wildlife, Rigg is one of these places where safety and common sense must prevail. Jurassic, Cliffs and Foreshore, 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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Rusey Cliff

Rusey Cliff is one of the few places in Cornwall where well-preserved fossils can be collected. Plant remains can be found in slabs of the Lower Carboniferous-aged Boscastle Formation, and corals, brachiopods and goniatites can be found in similar aged limestone rocks along the foreshore. The site can be accessed by walking along a cliff top footpath, which takes you through a large area of landslip. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Sandy Mouth

Sandy Mouth is the most northerly coastal Lower Carboniferous location in Cornwall, where plant remains can be found. Here, the rocks consist mostly of the Bude Sandstones, but the upper beds, which consist of mudstones and siltstones, often fall down onto the beach. These contain plant remains, which are fairly common. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Wanson Mouth

Wanson Mouth is located just to the south of Widemouth Bay. It is a privately owned beach, but with public access permitted and no restrictions on collecting fossils. It is also a quick and easy site to access, with some excellent Upper Carboniferous fossils to be found, such as goniatites, ostracods, molluscs and worm tubes. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Maer Cliff

Maer Cliff is accessed from the popular tourist beach of Northcott Mouth. The most common finds here are from the Upper Carboniferous and consist of plant and fish remains, together with burrows and tracks within nodules. In addition, plants and fish scales can be found loose within the layers of shale. The site is easily accessed and suitable for children. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Foxhole Point

Foxhole Point features the Crackington Measures, which continue from Widemouth Bay. While it is possible to walk here from Widemouth Bay, it is best accessed from the village of Millook to avoid a long walk over difficult terrain. Plant remains and goniatites can be found here from the Upper Carboniferous. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Crackington Haven

Crackington Haven is a small, but popular location, which has outstanding views. Fossils have been found on both sides of this small cove, but unfortunately it has become over collected. Today, fossils can be difficult to find and those within the bedrock are SSSI protected. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Upton Cross

Upton Cross is situated between Widemouth Bay and Bude. The Bude Formation, which is Carboniferous in age, sandwiches outcrops of shale at two areas of the cliff and foreshore. These contain nodules that yield fish remains, worm tubes and tracks. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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California Quarry

An old, cliff top quarry, situated along the coastal footpath near Boscastle, was once rich in trilobites. Today, most of the quarry has fallen into the sea, but a small part still exists with blocks that can yield fossils when split. Devonian, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦

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Bude

The Bude Formation, magnificently exposed in the cliffs of this popular tourist destination, is poor in fossils. However, the formation does boast a unique, 300-million-year-old fish, the goldfish-sized Cornuboniscus budensis, found nowhere else in the world! Plentiful crinoids and solitary corals can be seen (but not collected) in quarried limestone blocks used to build parts of Bude breakwater in the early 1800s). Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay contains a number of popular holiday parks, situated with easy access to the sandy beach. This is a well-known tourist hot-spot, especially for surfers, yet few realise that it has spectacular geological features and yields a variety of Upper Carboniferous fossils. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Lee Bay

Lee Bay is a coastal location just to the west of the Valley of the Rocks. It features similar, but more fossiliferous rocks than those found at the Valley of the Rocks, but the site is harder to collect from and the cliffs are not easy to access. The sea always reaches the cliffs at the headlands, even at the lowest tide, and the best sections will require some climbing over large rocks. Devonian, 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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Warden Point (Isle of Sheppey)

Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey is the most popular site for collecting London Clay fossils. Easily accessed, with lots of fresh fossils constantly being washed out. A wide variety of fossils, can be found including everything from turtles, lobsters and crabs to sharks’ teeth, snakes, crocodiles, molluscs and plant remains. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Minster (Isle of Sheppey)

Minster on the Isle of Sheppey is another excellent site for collecting London Clay fossils and often has different fossils from those at Warden Point. Plant remains (especially seeds and fruit) are particularly common at this end, with the smaller fossils amongst areas of pyrite being the easiest to collect. However, a longer walk is required to get to the fossiliferous areas, compared with Warden Point. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Beltinge (Herne Bay)

Beltinge (Herne Bay) is one of the most popular locations for collecting sharks’ teeth in the UK, especially for international visitors. You can usually find teeth all year round, but this location is best visited during extremely low tides, such as spring tides. At these times, fossil hunters across the UK and Europe flock to Herne Bay to visit its highly fossiliferous beds. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Tankerton

When beach conditions are favourable, Tankerton can be a very productive site. Rich in fish, lobsters, crabs, gastropods, bivalves and sharks’ teeth, a diverse range of species can be found here. London Clay is exposed on the foreshore, mostly in patches, but, during scouring conditions, more extensively. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦

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Reculver

The east of Herne Bay marks a dramatic change from rich fossil-bearing Eocene clays to the sandy cliffs of Reculver. Although sharks’ teeth do occur in the Thanet Sands, this location is mainly for those interested in collecting bivalves. These are found within foreshore exposures and the shell beds exposed within the cliff. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Allhallows-on-Sea

Allhallows-on-Sea is a London Clay foreshore location, northwest of the Isle of Sheppey on the south side of the River Thames. The actual site runs along the beach next to a large holiday park, which is protected by a 1.8km-long seawall. Success at this location is often subject to beach conditions, which, if favourable, can yield nodules containing lobsters and especially crabs. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Studd Hill

The Studd Hill location is a foreshore exposure, which begins at Hampton Pier and ends at Long Rock (both are marked on OS 1:50,000 maps). In recent years, continuous erosion has been exposing the London Clay more frequently, although fossils are still not as common as they are at the popular neighbouring sites of Tankerton and Herne Bay. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦

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Lower Upnor

Lower Upnor is probably the most unproductive of all the London Clay sites in Kent, but is situated not far from the Isle of Sheppey and also along the route to Elmley Hill, both of which are covered on this website. Not only do the cliffs contain a lot of vegetation and are badly slumped, but the foreshore often covered in rubbish and the beds here are also from the less productive Division B1 of the London Clay. However, there are still fossils to be found. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦

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Wye Downs

There are several old quarries and pits around the Wye Downs. These cover two chalk formations – the Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation and New Pit Formation. One particularly accessible quarry is featured in this guide, which cuts through the New Pit Formation. Brachiopods are most common fossils here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarries, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Peene Quarry

Peene Quarry is a country park just north of the Channel Tunnel. It has limited parking, but is publically accessible. Although badly overgrown, the site does have one good section with plenty of Upper Cretaceous rocks from the Holywell Nodular Chalk Formation to look through. One particularly accessible quarry is featured in this guide, which cuts through the New Pit Formation. Brachiopods and bivalves are the most common fossils here. Cretaceous, Disused Quarries, Rating: ♦♦♦

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Elmley Hill

Elmley Hill is situated on the south side of the Isle of Sheppey, on the opposite side to the classic London Clay section of Minster to Warden Point. It is not a particularly rich location for fossils, but nevertheless, some important finds have been made over the years. Getting to this location involves a long walk. Eocene, 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 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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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: ♦♦

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Maylandsea

The most productive location for lobster fragments – found in small yellow nodules – this small location with its tiny cliffs can bring some nice surprises. Sharks’ teeth and fish remains can also be found. There are several species of lobster to be collected and it is also rich in microfossils. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Harwich

What looks like a flat beach behind a concrete seawall actually yields plenty of shark and fish teeth, plant remains and much more. People have been collecting here for years. However, success at this location is subject to beach conditions. Eocene, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦

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Steeple Bay

Steeple Bay is very similar to Maylandsea. It is very productive for lobster fragments, which are found in small yellow nodules, and for crabs. There are several species of lobster that can be collected here and it is also rich in microfossils. All fossils are washed out of the London Clay from the low cliffs and foreshore. Eocene, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦