Cayton Bay, Yorkshire

Posted on Updated on


May 5


10:00 am - 01:00 pm

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UK Fossils


Cayton Bay

Cayton Bay, YO11 3NN

Cayton Bay, England, GB, YO11 3NN

Cayton Bay yields ammonites and some superb gastropods, bivalves and brachiopods from the Oxford Clay. These are best found on extreme low tides on the foreshore.

* Suitable for children 5+ (All children must be acompanied by a paying adult).
* HARD HATS (No Cycle Helmets), and HIGH VISIBILITY VESTS or jacket essential. We do not provide these, but you can add these when ordering if needed.

Most of the year, the best beds are often covered with sand. However, the Cayton Clay provides the best chance to find a variety of fossils by simply searching along the foreshore. Its fossils include belemnites, ammonites and other molluscs.

Near the waterworks at the south end of the bay and at low tide, calcareous sandstone (from the Hackness Rock Member) is sometimes exposed, which yields a range of fossils including bivalves, brachiopods, gastropods and ammonites (Cardioceras and Peltoceras). However, the most productive beds at Cayton Bay are the Oxford Clay. Sadly, these are often covered up with the slipped upper Cayton Clay formations or covered with sand.

If you are lucky enough to visit during scouring conditions, the Oxford Clay can be seen on the foreshore. At the north end of the bay, keep a look out for nodules, as some of these contain shrimps (Meyeria and Macrocephalites kamptus). The Oxford Clay is packed with bivalves and gastropods, and can sometimes be found in the lower cliff sequences


Please download and read the PPE POLICY Document

We try to keep most events to a 11am till 4pm schedule, but final times may vary depending on tide times and working around quarries. We will always advice start time and where to meet well in advance of the event. 

Please note, many of our locations will not have toilet facilities, water, or other amenities. 

Fossil guide to this location:

The Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve is world famous for its huge variety of Silurian fossils. Indeed, the town of Dudley has adopted a trilobite as part of its coat of arms – the trilobite, Calymene blumenbachi, was so commonly found by miners in Victorian times that they gave it the nick-name “the Dudley bug”.

Over 700 different types of fossil can be found here; 186 fossil species of which were first discovered and described here and 86 are found nowhere else on earth. Wren’s Nest contains the most diverse and abundant fossil fauna found in the British Isles and the fossils are among the most perfectly preserved Silurian fossils in the world. Despite the frequency of visitors at Wren’s Nest, the constantly eroding rocks and build up of scree allows safe and productive fossil collecting. The site is ideal for children, although there are no toilet facilities within the site.

At Wren’s Nest, there are so many fossils to collect that you will easily find something to take home with you. Take your time and look at the loose material on the ground. Remember do not use hammers or other tools on the rock faces. Hammers are totally banned from this site, in any case.

Fossils to be found include trilobites (especially Calymene blumenbachii-­‐ the ‘Dudley bug’), crinoids, brachiopods (some of the easiest fossils to find on Wren’s Nest are brachiopods, such as AtrypaStrophonella and Leptaena), corals, sponges, bryozoans, gastropods, bivalves (especially Goniophora and Pteronitella), criconarids, nautiloids  a superb example of a Silurian reef ecosystem.


Can my child less than 4 attend the event?

We strongly advice against taking children under 4, but if the event allows children and leaders agree, then this is possible providing they are under your responsibility and care, and do not use tools or equipment. Please contact us on 01502 725205 (Mon-Fri 8am-3pm) for more information.

Can I book over the phone?

Yes, you can, and we can take card payment, however a waiver must be signed before we can accept your booking. The waiver can be emailed or posted out, but must be returned within one week of the booking. Contact us on: 01502 725205 (Mon-Fri 8am-3pm).

Can I pay on the day?

Sorry, we do not allow anyone to pay on the day, as we cannot provide pre-preparation details on risk assessment, and due to health and safety, places are limited.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

This will greatly help us and speed things up, but leaders will have a list of those attending on the day.

Is my registration ticket transferrable?

Please contact us and we normally try to accommodate this.

I have a question not listed?

Please contact us on 01502 725205 (Mon-Fri 8am-3pm).

What happens if I can’t make it on time or get to the venue?

You need to contact us urgently. If this is within a few days of the event, call us on 01502 725205 (Mon-Fri 8am till 4pm), if it is on the day or a couple of days before, contact the leader in the final confirmation email detailing where to meet and times. We cannot guarenete we can wait for you, but where possible, we will try.

Are toilets nearby?

Most events will not have access to toilets. The best places to find fossils are mostly areas away from built up areas, and tend to be quite remote. There are a few exceptions where toilets are close by, but it is best to presume they won’t be available.

Will my friend’s hammer and chisels from their tool box be okay to bring?

No tools are allowed on this site due it’s designation as a SSSI, and in any case, are not needed as fossils can be found loose in the scree.

What happens if the event is cancelled?

We try very hard to avoid having to cancel, but if an event needs to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions or unforeseen circansances, we will notify you immediately, and you will be offered an alternative hunt or date or a refund.

Can I bring my dog/pet?

UKAFH does not permit members to bring dogs or pets, unless under exceptional circumstances such as guide dogs. Some members may suffer from Cynophobia, or allergies. In addition, we need to ensure the safety of all members. Many beaches also do not permit dogs.

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