This is one of the things that I enjoy most. It’s pretty much how I got to be where I am today, career wise. Yes, I know I work in IT (and the business end of IT at that) but its because I was taken to a quarry on a primary school field trip and found a fossil that I took the courses and exams and jobs and stuff that got me here.
Anyway, enough of that sentimental claptrap, I decided to infect the kids with the same magic that had worked for me.
So off we went to Folkestone in search of ammonites from the 110 million year old Gault Clay
Folkestone town isn’t really a pretty place – it’s a sort of run down hangover of what was once busy holiday seaside town. The arcades and hotels have definitely seen better days and it’s not a town I’d put on my ‘must visit’ itinerary. That said, it has some charm and we went off to The Warren to get access to Copt Point where the Gault clay is exposed.
It was an overcast but warm day, which was good because we could avoid being sunburned or rained on – actually a perfect day for fossil hunting.
Thats the French coast you can see on the horizon.
We clambered down to the rocks and made our way to where the first signs of where the grey blue Gault Clay had slipped over the Lower Greensand and started to poke around in the gaps between the Lower Greensand boulders. Most of the Gault fossils are pyritised and are black and hard compared to the very soft Gault clay. It’s not really worth trying to dig them out of the clay because the sea does a far better job.
The kids loved it and we came back with loaded bags full of ammonites, belemnites, bivalves, a turtle shell (or possibly a skull) fragment, a gastropod or two, some fossilised wood and either a bit of crab or lobster or a fish skull – I’m not sure which
And here’s the haul once I’d washed them off and varnished them with some clear matt varnish to protect them.
I dunno Charlie, based on this blog entry alone, Folkestone would be a must visit. What an excellent haul the kids got! There can’t be a lot of places in the world you can just go fossil picking, the way most would go shell or flower picking.
As long as you don’t get tempted to go into the town or look too closely and just stick to the fossils, it’s all good. In fact, quickly leave with the bag of goodlies and go round the bay to the famous white cliffs of Dover and go fossil hunting there too! There are a great many places along the coast where fossils are just laying about – the most famous of all is further around in Dorset – the ‘Jurrasic Coast’ – around Charnmouth – where there are so many fossils to be found you’d need a truck to take away what you see.