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Fossil Hunting in Sussex

The county of Sussex has some of the best locations for Cretaceous and Eocene fossils. From the famous chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters to the Eocene London Clay of Bracklesham Bay. Some of the best sites in Sussex to collect fossils are Eastbourne for its echinoids and chalk ammonites, and Bracklesham Bay for shark teeth. You can also find dinosaur bones at Hastings and Fairlight. Many of the locations are foreshore collecting, ideal for families.

There are nearly always people collecting at Bracklesham Bay. Fossils can simply be found washed up on the sand, and you can normally come back with bags full of decent finds, especially sharks’ teeth. During scouring tides, the fossiliferous Bracklesham Formation form the Eocene is exposed and the beach can be covered with ray and sharks’ teeth, and also bivalve shells.


This location is highly fossiliferous, with chalk packed with ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK and is full of surprises. It is highly recommended to all fossil hunters who love the chalk.


This site is world famous for its highly fossiliferous chalk, which is packed with a wide range of different echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK for its variety of fossils and is recommended to all keen chalk fossil hunters.


Bognor can be an outstanding London Clay location. Unlike the classic sites of Kent and Essex, this site yields insects, plant remains and a large number of brachiopods and bivalves. Some of these shells are enormous. When beach conditions are favourable, expect to find lots.


This is a classic British chalk location and a must for experienced fossil hunters. This guide concentrates on access from Cow Gap to Beachy Head. Over just a relatively short distance, fossils can be collected from the Lower, Middle and Upper Chalk. Please refer to the Eastbourne guide for the Eastbourne to Cow Gap section.


Depending on foreshore conditions, this can be an excellent location for chalk fossils. There is a foreshore platform immediately to the right of the steps, which is extremely rich in echinoids. You can see vast numbers of damaged ones in the rocks of the foreshore, but, if you look harder, you should be able to find some complete specimens.


Hastings is one of the only places outside of the Isle of Wight where dinosaur bones can be found and this popular and important site has yielded some important finds over the years. Fish, shark, plant, reptile remains, bivalves and gastropods can also be collected. Keep a look out for dinosaur footprints.


This popular location near Hastings has yielded some important finds over the years. Sharks’ teeth, plants, reptile remains and shells can all be collected, and the site is exceptional for small mammal and fish remains. Crocodile teeth can also sometimes turn up.


Cooden is located at the western end of the town of Bexhill. Along the foreshore, exposures of Weald Clay and Tunbridge Wells Sand can be seen. Fossils - including dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtle, plants and fish remains - can be found here.


Many echinoids can be found at Newhaven, in particular, Offaster pilula, which is very common - certain chalk blocks can be split open to yield numerous specimens of this small species. Also abundant (but often incomplete) are Echinocorys. If you walk as far as Peacehaven, you may be lucky enough to spot giant ammonites (probably Parapuzonisa or Havericeras) in the wave-cut platform.


Some lovely echinoids can be found in the chalk at Peacehaven, including some superb, large Echinocorys cincta. This locality is also good for fish remains, which can sometimes be found on the foreshore.


Birling Gap is situated between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Indeed, both of these locations can also be visited from Birling Gap on a retreating tide. However, due to dangerous tides along this part of the coastline, these three locations have been split into separate guides, with separate access points. This guide concentrates on the area around the access point of Birling Gap.


The Park Lane site is a road cutting in Pulborough that exposes the Sandgate Formation. Hard ironstones within the layer yield a variety of well-preserved bivalves. Although overgrown, the ironstones are highly fossiliferous. Therefore, once the bed is located, plenty of specimens should be found.


Malling Down is a nature reserve to the west of Lewes, which contains an old, disused quarry. The actual quarry (also known as ‘Bridgwick Pit’) is within the reserve, but is not part of the reserve itself. A public footpath takes you right through to the middle of the quarry.


Bexhill was made famous after the storms of November 2000 exposed dinosaur trackways on the foreshore. Since then, collectors have been finding a wide range of fossils, including fish, crocodile, turtle and dinosaur remains.


In the middle of this public common is a working sand pit. Since it is on public land, there are no restrictions on collecting and you can collect from the spoil heaps and sides of the pit itself, away from the main site. With permission, you can also enter the main pit.


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.

 

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


The Chalk of Sussex
and Kent

Superb Geological Field guide by the Geologists' Association. This book takes you through Folkestone, Dover, Isle of Thanet, Seaford Head, Newhaven, Seven Sisters, The Lewes, Beachy Head, Eastbourne and many other areas. It has 140 pages and takes you on a step by step walk.

UKGE CODE: BK0730
£15.00 (FREE DELIVERY)


Early Cretaceous Environments of the Weald

Location guide including access information, What to see and what to collect, Covers detailed information on the following locations; Hastings, Fairlight, Folkstone & many more. 80 pages.

UKGE CODE: BK0166
£15.99 (FREE DELIVERY)

 

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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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