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Fossil Hunting in Derbyshire

Derbyshire is covered in outcrops and cuttings of Carboniferous Limestone. These rocks contain corals and crinoids. The problem is that the rock ca be very hard, and the fossils difficult to get out. Carboniferous marine shale is also hi ghly fossiliferious. This is a fantastic area for explorers, being not as commercialised as the Lake District. The area is famous for mining and particularly of minerals such as "Blue John"

An extremely large and open, disused quarry, being rich in fossils. This is one of the best locations in Derbyshire, being easy to access. You could spend days here, finding superb fossils. The quarry is so large, that it is even possible to get lost! Several smaller quarries are linked to the main quarry, which also has three levels.

This is an excellent, large quarry owned by the National Stone Centre. It exposes the Eyam Limestone Formation which is full of excellent corals, crinoids, bivalves and brachiopods. Access is easy, by entering the National Stone Centre.

Marsh Brook cuts through carboniferous marine deposits. These are rich in gonatites, bivalves, gastropods, but contains many other types of fossils. Often, these are not particularly well preserved, being flattened, but the shale is also extremely rich in well-preserved microfossils.

In this large quarry, along a public footpath, not only can you find plenty of fossils, but the site is rich in minerals of Galena, Fluorite and Calcite. The disused quarry has very steep sides, with plenty of rocks to look through around the edges of the quarry.

Castleton has long been known for its Carboniferous limestone, its caves and for the Blue John semi-precious stone mined here. Now owned by the National trust and is designated an SSSI, unfortunately this means that fossils can only be observed and must not be collected.

Set within the rolling Peak District countryside, Parkhouse Hill, near Earl Sterndale is a beautiful location with various types limestone reef fossils. The view from the top of the hill is nothing short of stunning.

Monsal Dale near Little Longstone is set amongst breathtaking scenery. Carboniferous fossils such as crinoid pieces in limestone and chert can be found here.

This somewhat overgrown quarry is owned by the National Stone Centre. It exposes the Eyam Limestone Formation, rich in crinoids and molluscs. Large blocks have been left on the quarry floor, in the past, the bedding surfaces of these slabs has yielded shark remains.

In the village of Holymoorside, a public footpath takes you to a small quarry which yields small plant and stem remains from the Carboniferous Wingfield Flags Formation. Stem fragments are the most common find here.

Stone Edge Plantation is not far from Holymoorside. The area was extensively mined for coal, and coal measures shale can be found around the workings in and around the plantation.

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.


A-Z Listing Fossil Resources Beginners Guides to Fossil Hunting

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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