Yorkshire's Jurassic Park

Ammonites found at Loftus

On the Yorkshire Coast rocks from the Jurassic period (dating back 150-200 million years ago) are exposed in a series of cliffs and bays. This has made the area popular with geologists for generations. It was here, in the early days of geology, that many secrets of the earth’s history were discovered.

You can follow in the footsteps of pioneering geologists by hunting for fossils such as ammonites, belemnites, devil’s toenails (gryphaea) and tiny star-shaped crinoids. You might even be lucky enough to find a bone of a Jurassic marine reptile or a dinosaur footprint.

Fossil hunting tips

Searching for fossils and other treasures on the beach.
A family hunt for shells and fossils on a sunny beach.
Searching for fossils and other treasures on the beach.
  • The cliffs on the Yorkshire coast are prone to erosion and rock falls, especially following periods of extreme weather, including heavy rain, cold, heat and very dry spells. Stay a safe distance from the base of cliffs at all times.

  • The best time to search for fossils is following a storm, usually in the autumn or winter. Heavy seas break up rocks and wash new material onto the beach. There's no need to hammer at cliffs, hunt amongst the stones and shingle along and below the high tide mark. Once you get your eye in, you'll spot plenty of finds.

  • Always check tide times before you visit. Leave as the tide starts to come in.