Fossil Hunting in North Norfolk

August 4, 2020 1 Comment

Last year whilst visiting North Norfolk, we discovered a new family favourite past time…fossil hunting! So I thought we would share our experiences and also give you our top tips for fossil hunting in North Norfolk.

North Norfolk has 45 miles of beautiful coastline, with plenty of award winning beaches set in an area of outstanding natural beauty which makes them perfect for family adventures. The North East coastline from Weybourne to Cart Gap is known as the The Deep History Coast which is full of pre-historic evidence with a fascinating history. The world’s largest mammouth skeleton was discovered at West Runton, and the coastline is littered with fossil and prehistoric finds. You can read more about The Deep History Coast on the Visit North Norfolk website.

So if you fancy giving fossil hunting a go and would like to hear our top tips then read on, or pin it for later!

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Fossil Hunting Along The Deep History Coast

Fossil hunting is just one things you can do at the beach, but it can turn a simple family walk into an amazing adventure into the past.

This stretch of coastline it perfect for a little fossil hunting adventure with the kids. Our favourite locations along The Deep History Coat are West Runton, Trimingham and Happisburg although we have yet to visit all the beaches along this stretch.

One of the commonest fossil to find is a Belemnite, which are small fossils of a squid like animal that are over 70 million years old. We were lucky enough to find some on our first ever fossil hunting trip.

2 pieces of belemnite fossils on a beach
2 cylindrical pieces of belemnite fossil

They are orangey in colour, smooth and almost appear like dull sea glass (that’s how I discovered my first one). They are cylindrical with a bullet like tip so you may find a segment with a hole in it, or be lucky enough to find the bullet shaped tip. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll not stop being able to find them.

A boy holding some fossils
Oliver proudly showing the Belemite fossils he found

You may also come across an Echinoid. A round stone that is the fossilised remains of sea urchins that again lived over 70 million years ago. We have only found one so far, but the patterns are amazing. I’m hoping to find more this year when we go again.

An Echinoid Fossil (fossilised Sea Urchin) found at Trimingham beach

We have also found a horse molar just lying on the beach. Lots of animals lived in the area hundreds of thousands of years ago, and you can find fossilised bone, teeth and antlers. If you are extremely lucky you might even be able to find a Mammoth molar!

Horse molar found at Happisburg

As well as fossils you can also find semi-precious stones such as amber, jet, carnelian and jasper. Sadly we have not been lucky enough to find any…yet!

Our Top Tips For Fossil Hunting In North Norfolk

Once you have picked your location, park up and head down to the beach. All you need is a sharp eye and some patience. However there a few other things to consider that will help your fossil hunting adventure be safe, successful and a lot of fun.

  • Research before you go. Look at pictures on line with the kids so you know the sort of thing you are looking for. You could also visit Cromer or Sheringham museum to see their fossil collections before you go. This Fossil Identifier Guide on the visit North Norfolk website is also really useful.
  • Download The Deep History Coast App on your phone. It has lots of information, including a fossil and flint finder, the ability to take pictures and log your finds, and a cool augmented reality feature where you can view ancient lanscapes. Great for the kids.
  • Join the Norfolk Fossil Finds Facebook page. It’s a fascinating page and full of lots of very knowledgeable people. You can see what others have found and also use it to help idenitify objects that you find on the beach.
  • Check tide time before you go. A retiring tide is the best time to go. In some places at high tide the sea comes right up to the cliff edge so you don’t want to risk getting cut off.
  • Wear no slip foot wear. Often the best places to hunt for fossil are in the rockpools at low tide, so make sure you have adequate footwear especially for little ones.
  • Do not climb or dig into the cliffs. Not only is it very dangerous, but it contributes to the erosion. There have been large landslips along this strecth of coastline, so it’s best to stay away from the cliffs as much as possible and stick to the beach and the rockpools.
  • If you are not in a protected area or site of specific interest, then you can take a few small fossils from the beach. However, be respectful and only take a couple of representative samples, and leave additional ones for others to find and enjoy. If you are lucky enough to find a large fossil or something which you think is particularly interesting then it’s best to seek professional advice by contacting the local museum.
  • Lastly, don’t get dispondent if you don’t find anything significant. There are loads of interesting stones and shells, and plenty of rocks have markings in them that could be believed to be fossils with just a little imagination. I also have a beach scavenger hunt in The Secret Garden (my subscribers only area) if you want to look for more than just fossils. Just pop your details in below to gain access.

There are so many interesting things to find and fascinating history to learn. The place never fails to amaze me.

Have you been fossil hunting before? Were you lucky enough to find anything? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Happy hunting!

Kerry x

1 Comment

  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) September 10, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    How fascinating to find fossils on the beach. I’ve always wanted to go fossil hunting so it’s good to know which beaches are good ones for it. I love the markings on the Echinoid fossil. #KidsandKreativity

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi I'm Kerry, Wife to James, Step Mum to one, Mum to two and more fur, feather and winged babies than I can count. I have a passion for crafts, encouraging creativity and inspiring imagination especially in children. So if you are looking for some inspiration, ideas and resources to inject a little creativity into your family life, then you've come to the right place. Read More

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