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Fossil Hunting in Suffolk

The country of Suffolk is well known for Pleistocene (Ice age) and Pliocene deposits and some Eocene London Clay localities. Although not as popular with fossil hunters as other locations, Suffolk actually has some excellent places to collect fossils. From finding shark and fish teeth at Ramsholt, to remains of ice age mammals such as mammoths. Suffolk also has a new boulder clay locations, whereby older rocks from other areas of the UK have been brought down and dumped by glaciers. This means in Suffolk, you can collect ammonites, and ichthyosaurs remains that are found in places like Yorkshire and Dorset. Suffolk is also the best country to collect fossil mollusc's.

An Excellent location, you can find almost anything, Ammonites, Shells, Belemnites, Reptiles (such as Ichthyosaurs), Echinoid's and more from the Boulder Clay and Mammalian and Bird Remains from the Forest Bed during scouring conditions.


Ramsholt is one of the best locations for fossils in Suffolk yielding Sharks Teeth, Lobsters, Fruit, shells from the London clay, Shells, Sharks teeth from the Red Crag, Corals, Echinoid's, from the Coralline and Complete Crabs, fish remains, Sharks teeth from the basement Bed.


Rich Inland Red Crag Pit, a vast variety of shells along with Sharks Teeth and Rays. An excellent location for any keen crag collector.


Levington is a location along the River Orwell where London Clay is exposed in large cliffs and on the foreshore. Levington has yielded a large number of reptile remains including one complete skeleton.


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. London clay on the foreshore is rich in fish, bird and shark.


The Coralline Crag at Broom Pit, is extremely fossiliferious. It is rich in a wide variety of molluscs and bryozoans. You will be sure to come home with plenty of finds. The shells are in excellent condition and some are very large. A site definitely worth visiting.


At Easton Wood Cliffs, rich Shell Beds yield a wide range of shells, fish, bird and small mammal remains. There are six shell beds in total, during extreme scours which occur on average once every 10 years, the highly rich bone bearing bed yields many mammal remains.


Easton Bavents is the best location in the UK for finding Pliocene mammal remains and represents the only publically accessible site where mammal remains can be found in situ from the Norwich Crag. The location is of international importance, although fossils are limited to favourable tides. Today, fossils are uncommon, due to the thinning of the beds following many years of extensive erosion.


The disused part of Wangford Quarry has very thick Norwich Crag Shell Beds, these run for several meters packed with a vast number of various mollusc species and small mammal remains. Below this Larger mammal bones have been found.


The disused quarry contains good sections of the Chalky Boulder Clay, seen at Pakefield and Corton. The rain washes fossils out of the beds, and you can find ammonites, belemnites and if lucky, reptile remains on the surface of the exposures.


Ammonites, Belemnites and reptile remains can be found in the Boulder Clay, along with many erratic rocks full of shells. The foreshore sometimes yields fossil wood, fossil seeds and bone from the forest bed during times of scouring. This used to be a highly productive site, but the sea defence limits scouring.


This recently cleared pit at Capel Green provides an excellent opportunity to collect Red Crag Shells. It is next to the road, disused but has two large clear faces full of shells. In addition, shells can be collected from the quarry floor or nearby heap. Evidence of cross bedding is also clearly visible.


Neutral Farm Pit is a classic Red Crag geological site. It is easy to access. The face is showing some signs of being overgrown, but there is still a good area to collect shells from. Neutral Farm Pit is in the village of Butley.


Crag Pit Farm is a classic Coralline Crag site notified as an SSSI. It is rich in Bryozoans, and well documented for wave-features in the sands. There are few other fossils, and the shell beds are much deeper down, but it is certainly a location to visit for anyone who is interested in Bryozoans.


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.


The cliffs at Gedgrave, which run along the east bank of the River Butley, were previously completely overgrown for quite a number of years, despite being recognised as an SSSI for their geological and palaeontological importance. However, as part of Natural England’s conservation of SSSI sites, a small, three metre section has been fully excavated making this site accessible once again.


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.



Very little is known about the Covehithe Shell Beds, exposed on rare occasions. It is believed that they are a rear mollusc deposit within the Baventian stage. Other Fossils such as Echinoid's and Corals can be found in the Glacial Pebble Deposits.


Nacton Shore is a location along the River Orwell where London Clay is exposed in a small cliff and on the foreshore. Nacton Shore and Levington area has yielded a large number of reptile remains including one complete skeleton.


Along the river Stour, Pleistocene cliffs at Stutton Ness yield the bones of mammoths and deer, whilst foreshore exposures of Eocene London clay yield a wide variety of fossil seeds.


This is a new fossil yielding location, only recently exposed. During scouring conditions, Coralline Crag exposed below beach level yields hard blocks full of shells, echinoids, bryozoans and corals.


The Glacial Pebble Beds at Benacre yield a range of derived fossils including echinoid's, sponges, shells and belemnites. At the base of the cliff, the Baventian Clay is several metres thick.


Below the Glacial Beds at Dunwich Cliffs begins the Norwich Crag. During Scouring Conditions, Mammal Remains can be found below beach level, bones can also be found after storms washed up. Dunwich hasn't scoured for many years.

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

Quaternary
Neogene
Palaeogene

Cretaceous
Jurassic
Triassic
Permian
Carboniferous
Devonian
Silurian
Ordovician
Cambrian / Pre Cambrian

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Fossil Resources

Beginners Guides to Fossil Hunting

Cliff
Fossils collected direct from cliff face
Foreshore
Fossils collected from the foreshore
Cliff/Foreshore
Fossils collected from the cliff and foreshore
Quarry
Location is a quarry or pit
Stream
Fossils collected from a stream or river bed,
Field
Fossils collected from a farm field
Cutting
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.
Microfossils
Samples taken back for processing microfossils.

 

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