Walton-on-the-Naze is an unpredictable location, which can be highly productive one day and bare the next. It is the best coastal location for fossils from the Red Crag and is famous for fossil bird remains from the London Clay. It also while yields some of the largest sharks’ teeth in the UK (including the rare Carcharocles megalodon), together with plant remains and much, much more.
* Suitable for children 6+ (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.
Please note, many of our locations will not have toilet facilities, water, or other amenities.
Fossil guide to this location: https://ukfossils.co.uk/2007/06/07/walton-on-the-naze/
The Red Crag yields a wide variety of shells, fish fragments, sharks’ teeth and the occasional bit of bone. The shells are very fragile, so extra care should be taken extracting and getting them home. Small mammal remains, including voles, can also be found, but these are normally found by wet sieving using a mesh of 0.5mm
The majority of the fossils at Walton-on-the Naze can be found in areas of shingle and pyrite, in which fossils become trapped. As a general rule, the more pyrite that can be seen, the greater your chances are of finding fossils. However, they can be picked up anywhere on the beach. Look carefully and get down on your knees. In addition, light coloured nodules containing lobsters, crabs and bird bones, among other things, are not uncommon, but are generally only found after scouring tides or storms. The beds that these fossils come from is below beach level and, therefore, it is more likely these will be washed up on the beach or found during extremely low tides, than found in situ in the foreshore clay.
As a result of new sea defences at the beginning of the section, fossils are rare at the start of the walk. However, northwards from some large concrete blocks, it becomes much more productive (but becomes decreasingly less productive as the cliff height decreases). The bird bones and nodules containing lobsters and so on are mostly found at the far end of the cliffs. Bird bones can be found by taking home samples of London Clay to sieve.
Look out for pockets of fossil pyritised wood, as fish remains and small mammal remains can often be found trapped in amongst the pyritised fossil wood. This is also where most of the sharks’ teeth are found.
Walton-on-the-Naze is now the best coastal location in the UK for Red Crag, ever since Bawdsey became heavily protected by sea defences, which has caused it to become very overgrown. Here, beyond the new sea defences (where you will find information boards on the local natural history), there is no such protection, so regular erosion keeps the Red Crag on view. This frequently slumps and can often be seen at the base of the cliff. While climbing the cliffs is not recommend and digging in the cliffs is banned due to SSSI restrictions, shells can be found in the slumped scree slopes and, in many cases, these are in a much better condition than any you would find in the main face of the cliff. Rainfall also plays its part, doing all the natural sieving for you.
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 toliets. 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 toliets are close by, but it is best to presume they wont be available.
Will my friend’s hammer and chisels from their tool box be okay to bring?
No, standard tools are made from inferior metal which splinter very easily against rocks. This is both dangerous to yourself and others, and flying metal can cause eye injuries or penetrate the skin. ONLY hammers specifically made for geological use can be used. We offer some to add to your order if you dont have any.
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 conditons 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.