FOSSIL HUNT – Seaham, Durham

Posted on


November 11


10:00 am - 02:00 pm

Event Category:


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UK Fossils



Seaham, SR7

Seaham, England, GB, SR7

Seaham is a Carboniferous coal measure spoil heap, which was dumped in front of magnesium limestone cliffs at the old Dawdon Colliery. The reserves are so extensive that they have provided years of interesting collecting from spoil, which is gradually being washed by the sea. The colliery closed in 1991, but the tall cliffs of spoil continue to yield well-preserved plants.

* Suitable for children 6+ (All children must be acompanied by a paying adult).
* HIGH VISIBILITY VESTS or jacket essential.

PLEASE NOTE: This site is an SSSI. TOOLS are forbidden from this event (and location), collecting will be done from designated areas of scree and spoil only. A talk on safe and sensible collecting will be given at the start of this event. 

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:

At Seaham, you never know what you might find, as the spoil from the cliff is from many different beds and bands. Plant remains are quite common. You will see plenty of blocks full of plant stems and small leafs of the same and different species. In addition to smaller plant remains, chunks of tree trunk can be collected from the foreshore. Bivalves, such as Unio, can also be found in the marine bands.

Look for fossiliferous shale with plant remains. Once you find a block, you can then work on it by splitting it finely. Most of these blocks can be found on the foreshore. Some of them may not show any outward signs of plant remains, because they have been washed by the sea, but splitting these may yield a few surprises. Search along the foreshore for chunks of tree trunk and these can often be picked up. Some of them can be in superb condition and are often not too big to carry. The best preserved plants are found in the red rocks, which come from the so-called ‘Red Band’. These are extremely hard, but splitting them is worth the effort. Make sure you wear safety goggles if splitting these, as they easily splinter and sharp fragments can cause injury.


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.