Remnants of South Wales’s industrial past abound in the area, particularly in the form of colliery spoil heaps (coal tips) like this one. Although landscaped, there are plenty of areas of bare spoil to look through.Carboniferous, Spoil Heap, Rating: ♦♦♦
Following the Bellyford Burn is the disused Pencaitland Railway. This track is now used by cyclists, runners and walkers, and is a lovely walk. The old railway has boards along its way, detailing how coal was mined, and providing information about the old railway. In the middle of the walk are two very large spoil heaps that contain fossil plants from the Carboniferous shale.
Carboniferous, Spoil heaps, Rating: ♦♦♦
Unlike East Wemyss, where the cliffs are cut from a disused spoil heap, at West Wemyss, the cliffs contain in situ Carboniferous beds. There are very few locations in the UK where there are coastal sections of the actual coal measures. You can see very distinctive coal seams, and layers of harder rock and shale. The shale, both in the cliff and on the foreshore, is highly fossiliferous with plant remains.
Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
Newhey Quarry is full of Calamities (fossil stems of giant, tree-like horsetails), bivalves, and brachiopods. Some of the most interesting finds at this site are the superb trace fossils, including ripple marks, worm burrows and ‘fish marks’.Carboniferous, Disused Quarry, Rating: ♦♦♦
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: ♦♦♦♦♦
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: ♦♦♦♦♦
When visiting the village of Dalmellington, you cannot help but see the huge spoil heap. This is now disused, but contains plenty of material to search through, including black shale that is rich in fish remains. Plant remains can also be found. Carboniferous, Spoil Heap, Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦
This spoil heap is partly still being used and partly disused. Most of the waste material contains limestone and shale that is poor in fossil remains. However if you can find the right rocks, then plant remains can be found. However, these are often poorly preserved, but, as with all tips, you never know what you might find. Carboniferious, Spoil Heap, Rating: ♦♦♦
This famous, but now over-collected location, once yielded a rich variety of plant remains from the Coal Measures. It can be hard to find and the beds are so over-collected that fossils are now hard to find. Carboniferous, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦
Below the Forth Road and Forth Rail Bridge, Carboniferous fish fragments and plant remains can be found in the shale. It can take some time to find the fossiliferous zones, but once you do, there is plenty to be collected. Carboniferious, Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦
Along the seafront at Edinburgh, Carboniferous rocks yield fossil plant remains, crinoid stems and shells. Most of the best beds have been over-collected, but there are still lots of fossils to be found. Carboniferious, Cliffs and Foreshore, Rating: ♦♦♦♦