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Eastbourne fossils and fossil collecting

To access the cliffs at Eastbourne, you can park along the side of the road at the seafront at Holywell. There are toilets nearby.
Parking is permitted along most of the seafront road at Eastbourne. However, the best place is found by continuing along the road heading towards Beachy Head, until just before the hill where the road veers off away from the coast.
From here, you should find several ways down to the beach by means of paths, steps or roads. These all lead down to the beach. From here, head towards the chalk.

50.75283°N, 0.26906°E

Ammonites, echinoids, sponges, molluscs, fish remains, bryozoans.
Fossil Collecting at Eastbourne

This location is highly fossiliferous, with chalk packed with ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK and is full of surprises. It is highly recommended to all fossil hunters who love the chalk.
Where is it

Very High

The chalk here is packed with ammonites, echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. The cliffs are constantly being washed out, with some major falls in recent years. This makes Eastbourne one of the best chalk locations in the UK.

Older children

Eastbourne is suitable for families, but not recommended for small children. Please keep away from the base of the cliffs at all times. Once past the headland, the foreshore becomes slippery, with large boulders.

Fair Access

Eastbourne is easy to get to and the chalk is not too far to walk to. Please check tide times before visiting, as the tide always reaches the base of the cliff near the headlands and you can easily get cut off.

Cliffs and Foreshore

Fossils at Eastbourne are mostly found simply lying on the foreshore in the fallen rocks or as flint moulds. However, they can also be found in the cliff face, but it is inadvisable to hammer these out for safety reasons.

No Restrictions

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

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

Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and you should check tide times before going. There are three main dangers are at Eastbourne: 1. Tidal conditions. You must turn before the tide starts to come in. We recommend visiting Eastbourne on a falling tide. 2. Falling debris from the high cliffs. Stay away from the foot of the cliff, especially if hitting rocks, as vibrations from hammer blows can cause debris to fall. Hard hats should always be worn. 3. A slippery foreshore.

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

Other Locations similar to Eastbourne

In Sussex and Kent, there are many excellent locations for collecting chalk fossils. Newhaven, Seaford, Seven Sisters, Beachy Head, Peacehaven and Eastbourne, Dumpton, Kingsgate, Samphire Hoe, Pegwell Bay, Dover, St Margarets Bay.


Most fossils at Eastbourne can be found on the foreshore in fallen rocks or as loose fossils. You will require a hammer and chisel to get some of these out.

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The most common fossils at Eastbourne are brachiopods and inoceramid bivalves. However, ammonites can also be found and many of the middle chalk rocks here (the light grey coloured ones) reveal ammonites when split. Additionally, ammonites can be seen in many of the rocks, sometimes broken and worn, but sometimes whole. There is a variety of excellent echinoids, many of which can be found simply lying on the foreshore and with little prepping required, as the sea has done all the hard work.

In addition fossils such as sharks teeth and fish scales can be found, as can corals and sponges, the latter of which are quite common.

Erosion at Eastbourne in recent years has been so extensive that sea defences are fast changing. There are a number of groynes with steps and large blocks to protect the cliff, but this appears to be making little difference to the rate of erosion along this coastline. Between the groynes, and indeed past the last groyne, you can start to find fossils. However, the best place is from the last groyne to Cow Gap. (Cow gap to Beachy Head is covered in our other guide to Beachy Head.)

The best place to look is on the foreshore and at the base of the cliffs. Most of the fossils are from higher beds, so they can only be found in the fallen rocks along the foreshore.

If you can see a slightly worn ammonite in a block of chalk, often sectioned by wave action, use a hammer and wide chisel to hit about 1cm away from the fossil (or more if you are unsure) and work your way round. Usually, the ammonite comes out intact with the underside remaining in perfect condition.

Chalk cliffs at Eastbourne

Geology Guide Cretaceous, 90-100mya

The chalk at Eastbourne is largely from the Turonian stage of the Upper Cretaceous and is highly fossiliferous, being one of the best places for chalk fossils in the UK. ....[more]


Fish Remains including scales and bone ...[more]

Ammonite from the middle chalk..[more]

Related Books
Geological Supplies

Fossils of the Chalk

A fantastic book covering the chalk of the UK. This book covers most of the fossils that can be found in the chalk. It is a fully illustrated guide. This is the second edition of this popular book and is available from our own UK Fosils/UKGE Store.

All of our books have FREE UK Delivery, We have hundreds of geological books for sale.

At Eastbourne, you can find Microfossils from the chalk. They are much easier to collect because they are so small that you only need a small amount of chalk sample. You then need to break it down in water and view using a microscope to view these.

Chalk is actually composed of fossil shells, so you only need a small amount of sample on your microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereo microscope for viewing microfossils.

UKGE, the owners of UK Fossils, are your market leader for Geological Supplies and Geology Equipment. Suppling Retail, Education and Trade in the UK, Europe and beyond.

We sell a wide range of geological hammer and geological picks as well as fossil tools, starter packs and geological chisels.

UKGE is your geological superstore, selling a wide range of field equipment, rocks, minerals, fossils, geological and even microscopy!

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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Specimen Boxes for Fossil Storage
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Geological Hammers

(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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