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Bracklesham Bay fossil collecting (Sussex)

Fossil collecting at Bracklesham Bay

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. Occasionally, you can find corals, but you will definitely find lots of the often overlooked, large, single-celled foraminifera (Nummulites laevigatus).

Directions:
To access the cliffs at Eastbourne, you can park along the side of the road at the seafront at Holywell. There are toilets nearby. Parking is permitted along most of the seafront road at Eastbourne. However, the best place is found by continuing along the road heading towards Beachy Head, until just before the hill where the road veers off away from the coast. From here, you should find several ways down to the beach by means of paths, steps or roads. These all lead down to the beach. From here, head towards the chalk.

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.

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Fossils - The most common finds are sharks’ teeth, fish remains, bivalves and gastropods.
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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.

Stone Tumblers

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in a stone tumbler (Lapidary). You can polish stones and rocks from the beach which will look fantastic polished using a stone tumbler. You can polish rough rock and beach glass whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed. These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. They can even be used for amber and fossils.

Microscopes

At most locations, you can find microfossils. You only need a small sample of the sand. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. We also sell petri dishes, to help you store your fossils.We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

Test Sieves

Test Sieves are used when searching for microfossils. All you need is a small amount of sample such as clays, sands and shales, or if you have acid, limestone, oolite or chalk. Our UKGE Store sells Endecotts and Impact Test Sieves, these laboratory sieves are highly accurate and extremely durable. These Test sieves are fantastic for microfossils. Test Sieves come in a variety of sizes, frame material and types, they are certificated to EU Standards.