A beginner's guide to fossil hunting
Fossil hunting is great fun, no matter what your age. We've asked our rangers and experts for their best tips to get you started. If you're a young fossil hunter, this activity is one of your 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.
Journey back in time
Fossil hunting kit
'People often only find bits, so this helps you to relate your fossil to a wider history,’ says Chris. Take a magnifying glass - 5x or 10x magnification is best for fossil hunting - and an old toothbrush is handy for brushing off mud.
Dos and don'ts
" The best and safest way to look for a fossil is on the beach, where the sea has washed them out and left them for you to find"
Here are a few rules that all fossil-hunters need to follow:
- As long as you’re not in a protected area, you can pick up small fossils that are lying around on the ground. Please don't remove any fossils from rocks or cliffs though, and large fossils are best left for all to enjoy.
- If you're lucky enough to make a rare find, please report it to museums or your closest visitor centre, and if you're in a Site of Specific Scientific Interest, please follow any rules they might have. They are there to protect geology for future generations.
- Finding fossils does require a bit of patience, so children might need reminding that they aren’t guaranteed to find anything and will have to look at rocks for more than a few seconds.
Bring history to life
" I like doing rubbings of fossils and bones, and investigating where they come from and what creatures they may have once been."