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Fossil Hunting in Norfolk

The North Norfolk Coast is a well known for having a mixture of Cretaceous fossils such as echinoid's, belemnites and brachiopods with Quaternary deposits yielding the bones of ice age mammals. Often both will be at the same location. The most well known location is West Runton. Here, the discovery of the most complete Mammoth was found, and where you can also find sponges and micraster echiniods along the foreshore. Norfolk would be an outstanding local for fossil hunters, if it wasn't for its reliance on tides and scouring conditions. The Spring and Winter months are therefore the best time to collect here. Many of the best fossils are below beach level.

The Famous Red and White Cliffs of Hunstanton are visited by hundreds each year simply to see this spectacular natural geological feature. The Red Chalk and White Lower Chalk is rich in fossils including echinoids, fish, shark, bivalves and brachiopods, ammonites and more.

Overstrand is a foreshore collecting location. Chalk is exposed during low tide, this is usually during scouring conditions or winter/spring months. The chalk is highly fossiliferious, yielding many Echinoids, Sponges and Molluscs

The location of the famous 'West Runton Elephant'. 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.

East Runton is the best location for mammal remains from the Pastonian age. It also is one of the only locations where you can see younger pleistocene beds below huge chalk cliffs. The chalk was transported during the ice age, and is spectacular to see.

The chalk at Weybourne yields echinoid's and brachiopods but resting upon 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.

The Caistor St Edmund quarry in Norfolk is particularly good for fish remains which can be found in the lower beds. Echinoids, brachiopods and bivalves are also common here along with Sponges from the flint spoil heaps.

At Crimplesham, Kimmeridge Clay and Oxford Clay is exposed. Within the Oxford Clay is large nodules which contain ammonites, brachiopods and bivalves. The quarry is slowly being backfilled, so collecting is become more limited.


Trimingham has the youngest chalk in UK mainland; a few shells can be collected from the small cliff face. The chalk has actually been tilted and folded by glaciation, and is a geologically important site. Easy access onto the beach, although the road turning is easily missed.

Near the life boat station, the foreshore exposures chalk during scouring conditions. Corals and shark remains have been found at this location although scouring only happens a few times a year. If you do visit during favorable conditions, you should find some nice specimens.

Happisburgh, famous for its rapid rates of erosion and a graveyard of previous attempts to stop erosion with old broken sea walls, is not the most famous of places for fossils. It is actually the glacial beds that yield fossils, mostly mollusc's, but also other erratics. Happisburgh does have forest bed, but this is rarely exposed.

The cliffs from Trimingham to Sidestrand are some of the most spectacular glacial formations along the North Norfolk Coast. The tall-rapid eroding cliffs here display an array of various colours from sands, tills and clays. Fossils are mostly erratic’s of Jurassic and Cretaceous fossils.

Mundesley was once an important site for Cromer Forest-bed material with a number of large vertebrate specimens being found from foreshore deposits. Today, the sea defence prevents this bed from being washed out, although the occasional bone can turn up. Erratic fossils, mostly of flint echinoids and sponges can however be found.


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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Beginners Guides to Fossil Hunting

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.
Fossils collected from hill or mountain scree slope.
Fossils collected from rock outcrops.
Fossils collected from lake or reservoir banks.
Samples taken back for processing microfossils.


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