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Hastings fossils and fossil collecting

The cliffs at Hastings are best accessed from the large car park at ‘Rock-A-Nore’. Simply follow the Hastings seafront eastwards and head towards the ‘Old Town’. This is also the road to the well-known fishing tackle shops. Nearby, there are toilets and several food outlets/shops.
You will pass a sea life centre and a fisherman’s museum. Continue to the end of the large car park, where you will have to pay to park.
Access to the beach appears to be blocked off with a bar put across what once was a footpath to the beach. This is for safety reasons, since the old concrete ramp and steps down have become badly eroded.
You can still access the beach safely by climbing over the bar and descending some concrete blocks. However, as this is no longer an official access point, this is entirely at your own risk.
TQ 83330 09699
50.85773°N, 0.60345°E

Fish, shark, crocodiles, turtle,
dinosaurs, shells.
Fossil Collecting at Hastings


Hastings is one of the only places outside of the Isle of Wight where dinosaur bones can be found and this popular and important site has yielded some important finds over the years. Fish, shark, plant, reptile remains, bivalves and gastropods can also be collected. Keep a look out for dinosaur footprints.
Where is it

Medium-High

Hastings has yielded excellent fish specimens and dinosaur fragments, but is also over collected due to its popularity. The best time to collect is after the winter storms and scouring conditions.


Not for children


Access to the beach can be difficult for younger children now that the old official way down is badly eroded. The foreshore is also very rocky. Keep away from the base of the cliffs.


Fair Access


Access to the foreshore at Hastings is easy to find, being right next to a very large car park, where there are toilets and several food outlets/shops. You don't have to walk very far, but, be warned that the beach can be very rocky and access can be difficult, due to the heavily eroded ramp and steps.


Foreshore, Cliffs


Most of the fossils at Hastings can be found on the foreshore, especially after storms and scouring conditions. However, fossils are also commonly found at the base of the cliff in the scree slopes. Extreme care must be taken and hard hats should be worn at all times if collecting near the base of the cliff.


No Restrictions


There are no restrictions at this location, but please follow our own code of conduct for all locations.

Hastings
Tide Times


UK Tidal data is owned by Crown Copyright, and therefore sadly we are not allowed to display tide times without paying expensive annual contracts. However we sell them via our store, including FREE POSTAGE
Click here to buy a tide table



As always, common sense when collecting should be used and you should check tide times before going, as the sea always reaches the base of the cliff at high tide. Note that many people each year are cut off by the tide. The other important thing to note is the danger of falling debris from the high cliffs. Stay away from the foot of the cliff and, if you are breaking rocks, do so well away from the cliff, as hammer vibrations can cause debris to fall. Hard hats should be worn.


Last updated:  2012
last visited:  2012
Written by:  Alister and Alison Cruickshanks
Edited by:  Jon Trevelyan

Other Locations similar to Hastings

For other similar locations, try nearby Bexhill, and Cooden. You can also collect from Fairlight, a similar age and just up the coast. Looking for more good fossil hunting trips? Why not try the following locations which are all very good for finding fossils...
Whitby, Bracklesham, Kettleness, Eastbourne, Hope, Staithes
Quantoxhead, Fishguard, Abereiddy, Whitehaven, Aust, Hunstanton,

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There is a wide variety of fossils to be found at Hastings, from dinosaur bones (mostly fragments) to complete fish. Small teeth are quite common, especially sharks’ teeth, such as Hybodus. The most common fish is Lepidotes, the scales of which can be found in the rocks and clay.

Keep an eye open for dinosaur footprints, the most common being from Iguanodon. These are quite hard to find, but look for three indentations, where it looks as if something has pressed into the soft rock. In addition, you can find crocodile bones and teeth (other reptile remains have also been found here), a number of different bivalves and gastropods, and a few varieties of plants (especially Equisetites, which is a horsetail).

Success at Hastings is often subject to beach conditions. The ideal time to visit is after exceptional high tides and storms. A good scour will clear away the shingle and allow you to search the foreshore for bones, shells, teeth and plants. Fossils can generally be found anywhere along the foreshore. You should search around the areas of clay and examine the rocks, because most of the bones and fish remains are found in these hard blocks. Many small teeth can be collected from the clay, especially at Rock-A-Nore itself. Search in the clay and mud of the scree slopes, especially after heavy rain. In these conditions, fossils are washed out and often just waiting to be picked up.


Iguanodon footprints are common at Hastings, but hard to identify.

Geology Guide Cretaceous,130mya

The high sandstone cliffs at Rock-A-Nore are part of the Upper Ashdown Formation and are overlain by shales and sandstones from the Wadhurst Clay. These are from the Wealden Group from the Valanginian Age of the Lower Cretaceous. The Ashdown formation is split into two parts, with the majority of the cliff at Rock-A-Nore made up of the Ashdown Sandstone, but, as you walk towards Ecclesbourne Glen (where there is a large waterfall), the Fairlight Clay is exposed in the lower part of the cliff and foreshore........[more]

More Guides


Hybodus shark tooth .....[more]

Many fossils can be found on the foreshore and in the scree slopes, but the best fossils are normally found in the hard rocks on the beach. For this reason, you will need to bring a hammer and chisel to extract them.

Estwing Geological
Meteorites
Microscopy

For high quality, steel hammers, Estwing are the best make. They are solid forged. Estwing Geological Hammers come as either Chisel or Pointed picks. We sell Estwing Hammers via our webshop and Estwing Geological Pointed Picks.

We also sell the classic British Geological Hammer in Hickory, Steel or Fibre Glass Handles. As well as over 10,000 related geological tools, equipment, books and maps via our store. UKGE, specialising in Geological and MIcroscopy tools and equipment.

Meteorites can be found all over the world. Often, large pieces are broken down either naturally or by hand, or sliced and sold as small fragments, each fall is well documented. Meteorites are very collectable, especially ones of Mars or Moon rocks.

We sell Meteorites, which are in stock and mostly come in a display boxs. Our meteorites are from all over the world and include Mars and Moon Meteorites, and rocks from outer space. For more information, please see our meteorite page.

For viewing the tiny teeth and microfossils from Hastings, we have a wide range of microscopes for sale, a Stereomicroscope will be needed for viewing these fossils. The most popular is our IMXZ which comes with zoom control, but a basic microscope will be fine.

At most locations, you can find microfossils. Often, only a small amount of sample is needed. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once it is processed, you can then view the contents using the microscope.

Rock and Fossil Magazine, Deposits
Fossil Hunter Starter Packs with Geological Tools and Safety wear
Microscopes for viewing Microfossils
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Fossils for sale, Ammonites, Belemnites, Dinosaurs, Trilobites, Reptiles, Fish
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(C)opyright 2008 - UKGE Limited, UK Fossils Network and Deposits Magazine, all rights reserved.
While we (UKGE/UK Fossils) try to ensure that the content of this location guide is accurate and up to date, we cannot and do not guarantee this. Nor can we be held liable for any loss or injury caused by or to a person visiting this site. Remember: this is only a location guide and the responsibility remains with the person or persons making the visit for their own personal safety and the safety of their possessions. That is, any visit to this location is of a personal nature and has not been arranged or directly suggested by UK Fossils. In addition, we recommend visitors get their own personal insurance cover. Please also remember to check tide times and rights of way (where relevant), and to behave in a responsible and safe manner at all times (for example, by keeping away from cliff faces and mud).
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