FOSSIL HUNT - Monmouth/Pinhay, Dorset

Sunday, June 25, 2017 from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM (LMT) More Information →

Monmouth has similar zones to the Lias of Church Cliffs. Ammonites and reptile remains can be found on the foreshore. We will also be looking at Pinhay Bay, where Cretaceous Chalk fossils (echinoids, shells and sea urchin spines) can be found. 

* Suitable for children 5+
* LEADERS: Steve Snowball and Lizzie Hingley 
* HARD HATS (No Cycle Helmets), and HIGH VISIBILITY VESTS or jacket essential.

Please download and read the RISK ASSESSMENT Document

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:

Bones of ichthyosaurs and other reptiles can be found on the foreshore. These are fairly rare and beach scouring is often needed to be successful. They come from a bed that is beneath the level of the beach, so you will not be able to find these by directly digging into the cliffs. The hard limestone from the Blue Lias contains many ammonites and, sometimes, very large, complete nautiluses. The ammonites and nautiluses can reach over 0.5m in diameter. In fact, some of the largest and best Blue Lias finds have come from Chippel Bay. However, this bed is extremely hard and a cliff fall is required to find anything. Trace fossils and worn parts of ammonites scatter the beach (especially Psiloceras and Coroniceras). Within the limestone bands, brachiopods (Calcirhynchia calcarea) and oysters (Gryphaea arcuata) can be found.

From the centre of Chippel Bay to Pinhay Bay, the Fish Bed, which consists of thin, laminated shale, is well exposed at the base of the cliff. In fact, there are several beds with fish remains in. However, only one of these contains the remains of whole fish. Most of the shale here is packed with fish scales, but the best fish bed can be difficult to find, due to the rapid changes in beach conditions. Flat ammonites and shells can also be found. Occasional lumps of chert can be seen, which contain various fossils, including trace fossils, especially worm tubes.

Walking into Pinhay Bay from Lyme Regis, the junction of the Triassic (Penarth Group) with the overlying Jurassic strata of the Blue Lias Formation is found. The actual boundary sits within laminated limestones and shales, about 2.5 metres above the top of the clearly visible White Lias Formation, of the Langport Member, but the boundary is not conspicuous. This late Triassic limestone of the White Lias Formation lies below the Blue Lias and is eventually cut by a fault, so it is not visible to the west of the bay.

The Triassic rocks of the Penarth Group, are found on the foreshore and at the base of the cliffs. These Rhaetian aged rocks contain a range of compacted moulds of small aragonitic bivalves and gastropods, including Rhaotavicula contorta, Chlamys valonensis and Protocardia rhaetica, which can all be found.

The White Lias (Langport Member) is clearly seen in the cliff as pale green or grey limestones. White Lias is a rare, fine-grained form of limestone and getting the name ‘lias’ from the quarrymen’s dialect for ‘layers’, referring to its natural state when quarried. White Lias is part of the Penarth Group, a multi-layered bed of stone formed from shale and limestone. At its base is a bone-bed yielding ancient marine, reptilian and ammonites, although such occurrences at Pinhay Bay are seldom.

Walking west of Seven Rock Point, younger rocks can be seen above. These overlie the 19m of Blue Lias, and include Cretaceous Upper Greensand and the Chalk from the Lewes Nodular Chalk and the basal part of the overlying Seaford Chalk Formation from the Upper Turonian to the Coniacian. These beds are not accessible but fallen blocks on the beach can reveal a range of fossils.


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.