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Best places to find fossils

A child's hands cup a collection of belemnites, bullet-shaped sandy-coloured fossils
Finding belemnite fossils in the chalk beds at West Runton and Beeston Regis | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

You can find fossils anywhere, from gardens to railway sidings – they could be deep in the ground beneath you right now. Some of the coastal spots in our care are famed for their ancient finds. If you’re interested in fossils, or your children are exploring No. 26 of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’, here are some great places to start.

Birling Gap, East Sussex
Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, is part of the world-famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast and also a great spot for finding fossils. The chalk cliffs of the South Downs are continually eroding, meaning a lot of Cretaceous fossils are found here. Everyone will find something on the beach to intrigue them.Visit Birling Gap
Blakeney Point, Norfolk
On the strand at Blakeney Point, bones and fossils (including ammonites) are often washed up. Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and see if you can find a precious fossil. Remember to check tide times before you visit, to make sure you’re not cut off by rising and high tides. Please respect the areas fenced off to protect nesting birds.Visit Blakeney Point
A child holds out their hand, holding an ammonite, while standing on a wet sandy beach
Finding ammonites on the Yorkshire coast | © National Trust Images/Ian Shaw
Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Sometimes referred to as ‘Dinosaur Island’, the Isle of Wight is a rich source of fossils. Compton Bay is a good place to start your hunt, on areas of the beach recently uncovered by the tide, among the loose gravel and stones. Don’t miss the large three-toed iguanodon foot casts, at the base of the cliffs just east of Compton Bay car park at Hanover Point.Visit Compton Bay
Yorkshire coast
On the Yorkshire coast rocks from the Jurassic period are exposed for all to see, in a series of spectacular cliffs and bays. Staithes, Runswick, Robin Hood’s Bay, Boggle Hole and Saltburn are all good spots to go hunting fossils.Visit the Yorkshire coast
Family day out on the beach in winter

Coast and beaches

From wild cliffs and open seas to tranquil beaches and hidden coves, there are endless beautiful places along the coastline we look after to explore.

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