Geology: At Bracklesham Bay, the Bracklesham Beds from the Eocene are exposed below beach level. This gives a plentiful supply of fossils. During scouring conditions, clay and sand formations can be seen exposed on the foreshore. The Bracklesham Group is divided into four beds, which are all present here. Walking east or west from the car park will take you over the beds, which are, from west to east: The Wittering Formation. The Earnley Sand, The Marsh Farm Formation, The Selsey Sand, These are around 40.5 to 49.5myrs old.
Fossil collecting: Bracklesham Bay is a popular location for ray and sharks’ teeth, bivalves and gastropods. From the Bracklesham Group, a wide variety of species of shark and molluscs can be found. Fish remains are also common here. Occasionally, you can find corals and you will definitely find the often overlooked, large, single-celled foraminifera (Nummulites laevigatus). Bracklesham is an ideal location for children and all the family, and is a classic site for fossils. You can simply walk along the beach and pick up fossils in the sand. During scouring conditions, you can wet sieve the Bracklesham Formation, which is exposed along the beach. However, you will need to visit on a retreating tide, preferably one hour before low tide to give enough time for you to have a good look. Even if you don’t find sharks’ teeth, you should at least come away with some nice shells.
Equipment: The fossils from Bracklesham Bay are found on the foreshore and all you will need is good eyesight. Hammers and so on are NOT required. However, a trowel with a long handle is especially useful.
Safety: Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used and you should always check tide times.
Further information: View public discussions and other people's finds, or add your own reports and photos by going to our Discussion Board. For other similar Eocene locations, you can try Barton-on-Sea or Taddiford Gap in Hampshire, Harwich in Essex, or Herne Bay in Kent, or Nacton, Bognor Regis, Ramsholt, Bawdsey, Maylandsea, Levington, Burnham on Crouch. Isle of Sheppey or Walton-on-Naze which are London Clay Locations, a similar age to Bracklesham. In London Abbey Wood is also a great place for shark's teeth. At Whitecliff Bay on the IOW, the Bracklesham Beds are also exposed.