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6 March, 2017

First-Time Fossil Hunting in Whitby – What Did We Find?

Comments : 10 Posted in : Reviews on by : Fat Dad

Fat Dad’s Review

Yesterday we had a drive over to Whitby to go fossil hunting. It was the first time we had ever done this so I did a bit of research up front – I knew the North Yorkshire coast was a good spot but other than that I was clueless. I have to give a big thanks here for UK Fossils Guide as I used a lot of the information on their site. Ranging from locations, tools, types of fossil etc.  In the end I chose Whitby predominantly for the frequency of finds; that, and the fact I’d not been there since I was a teenager and I wanted to see the town again!

As per the guide, I took note of the warning about being cut off from land as the tide rises. As it happened, yesterday’s high tides were at 8.45am and 9.11pm – with low tide at 2.53pm. I worked out that we should have adequate time to hunt in safety if we went between 11am and left the area by 4pm. Plenty of time for some first-time fossil hunters to try their hands without getting stranded and without it getting too dark. We kitted up with boots, warm clothes, a hammer and some chisels, got a bag full of food and snacks and headed over the North Yorkshire Moors to land in Whitby.

We parked up on the West Cliff with blue skies and bright shining sun – a lovely pre-Spring day. I was regretting getting the kids wrapped up so warm but I had my backpack ready for their coats which could be replaced with lots of fossils later. I hoped. As tourists we were duty-bound to get a photo of Captain Cook and one of the kids under the whale bone arch

We could see that the east cliff couldn’t be accessed just yet so we had a little walk along the main beach. As we walked upon the rocks I spotted a curved and ridged rock so I picked it up and noticed it looked like the sides of an ammonite – the spiral fossils you see quite often. Oscar was excited and we decided to try and crack it open to view the full thing. Out came the hammer and chisel and with some careful work we managed to split the rock in two – revealing a nicely preserved ammonite:

This really got Oscar and Phoebe excited and we set off for a walk through Whitby, round the quay, over the bridge and down to the base of the east cliff. The tide was far enough out now so we could walk along and get fossil hunting. There are plenty of signs warning about the dangers in the area so please do take note! We were lucky with the tide times as well as the weather – the storms had passed a few days earlier and the wind was quite mild.

We then spent a good few hours scouring the rocks at the base of the cliff looking for fossils and found a number of ammonites (swirly things) and belemnites (pointy things). It was great fun climbing over the rocks, looking for fossils and running around on the beach.

It started getting colder as the sun went behind the cliff (I’m glad we were wrapped up warm) plus we were getting tired too. So we started walking back to the harbour to go back to the town. We bumped into a couple who were using a geologists pick in the shale (the black rock that forms the base of the beach) and they’d got some larger belemnites and were impressed with Oscar’s huge ammonite. We decided there and then that the next time we come we’ll get a geologist’s pick and spend some time looking around the shale area too.

We decided not to go up the 199 steps up to Whitby Abbey this time so we had a walk around the shops, bought some shark teeth, geodes and some sweets then headed home after calling in for some very nice chips from Russells.

We all had such a fun day, although it was rather tiring and we have some great fossils of our own to show for it! We’ll definitely be doing it again.

Country Kids Not Just The 3 Of Us


10 thoughts on : First-Time Fossil Hunting in Whitby – What Did We Find?

  • March 7, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Wow what amazing finds!! We’ve found sharks teeth and shell fossils where we used to live in the UK #countrykidsfun

  • March 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Fossil hunting is a great way to enjoy the countryside with older kids. We have done the same thing over the chalk pits at the South Downs. My husband is a Geography expert so I gave over to him on this one, but otherwise I like your idea of doing a little research first so you know what you are looking for and where you are likely to find it. Sounds like Whitby was a perfect choice with some great finds and then the beach and town to make a full outing it.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • March 8, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    We live near Charmouth on the South coast in Dorset, also famous for its fossils. Looks like you did really well for beginners. Whitby is on my list of places to visit so now I know we can go fossil hunting as well as eating fish and chips – sounds a lot like where I live! #CountryKids

    • Fat Dad
      March 8, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Ah, is that the area known as The Jurassic Coast? I read about that when looking up fossil locations.

  • March 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Whitby is somewhere that I have never been but it does look like I need to change that!

    • Fat Dad
      March 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      It’s a lovely little old fashioned seaside town. Lots of history!

  • March 8, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Wow what great finds, I had no idea Whitby was so good for fossil hunting, I must go on a search next time I am up! #countrykids

  • March 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    This is my kind of post! I absolutely love hunting for fossils and it’s a great activity that tweens and teens love. We have some fossils on the South Wales coast but they are not as good as these! Thanks so much for linking up with #TweensTeensBeyond. Looking forward to reading more next week.

  • March 14, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I remember just like it was yesterday finding my ammonite as a child on a holiday in the Isle of Wight. It is such a great thing to do with kids. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story. #TweensTeensBeyond

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