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Fossil Hunting in Durham & Cleveland

Durham is perhaps more well known for its Permian fossil fish, although these are found at working quarries. At Cleveland, the continuation of the Jurassic formations from Yorkshire, provides a few locations around the Redcar area. Redcar itself is a child safe site, with rolled fossils. Saltburn has the tallest cliffs along the East Coast where trace fossils are most common.

This site is a Carboniferous coal measure spoil heap, which was dumped in front of Magnesium Limestone cliffs from the old Dawdon Colliery. The reserves are so extensive that they have provided years of interesting collecting, from spoil which is gradually being washed by the sea. The colliery closed in 1991, but the tall cliffs of spoil continue to yield well-preserved plants.

This location is mostly suited to children, with plenty of rolled fossils and fragments to be found in a safe environment. Simple pick them up along a shingle bank. Close to toilets, food and drink, and excellent parking.

The magnificent tall jurassic cliffs at Saltburn yield ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods and bivalves from the Cleveland Ironstone of the Lower Lias. The rocks here, however can be very hard and difficult to collect from.

This new town may not be the most prettiest in Cleveland, but is an ideal location for anyone interested in trace fossils. Fossil ripple marks and worm tubes are quite frequent. Bivalves are also very common. There is a large number of rocks along the beach, making walking difficult.

Fossils collected direct from cliff face
Fossils collected from the foreshore
Fossils collected from the cliff and foreshore
Location is a quarry or pit
Fossils collected from a stream or river bed,
Fossils collected from a farm field
Fossils collected from road or railway cutting.
Scree Slope
Fossils collected from hill or mountain scree slope.
Rock Outcrop
Fossils collected from rock outcrops.
Lake / Reservoir
Fossils collected from lake or reservoir banks.
Samples taken back for processing microfossils.

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Fossils are common
Fossils often found
Fossils are not common
Fossils rarely found
Site protected, no collecting permitted, or no access to beach


Cambrian / Pre Cambrian


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While we (UKGE/UK Fossils) try to ensure that the content of this location guide is accurate and up to date, we cannot and do not guarantee this. Nor can we be held liable for any loss or injury caused by or to a person visiting this site. Remember: this is only a location guide and the responsibility remains with the person or persons making the visit for their own personal safety and the safety of their possessions. That is, any visit to this location is of a personal nature and has not been arranged or directly suggested by UK Fossils. In addition, we recommend visitors get their own personal insurance cover. Please also remember to check tide times and rights of way (where relevant), and to behave in a responsible and safe manner at all times (for example, by keeping away from cliff faces and mud).
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