ACTIVITIES - FOSSIL HUNTING
FOSSIL HUNTING - CAYTON BAY
The Yorkshire Coast is a very fossil-rich coastline. We are novices at fossil hunting, but it is a past-time that we all enjoy.
Our interest in fossil hunting started a little while ago when we were at Hornsea and came across a rock which had a patterned indentation in it. Thinking there might be something fossily lurking inside of it, we dinged it against a bigger rock and it broke apart, revealing a small fragment of a piece of an ammonite. Big excitement from all. We looked around a bit more, but realized very quickly that we did not really know what we were looking for. With our interest in fossils ignited, it was time to learn more.
I found a company called Hidden Horizons through an internet search and booked us onto a fossil hunting trip at Cayton Bay. I had not been to Cayton Bay since I was a child – I have vague memories of going there once on a hot summers day and the water being really clear. Well, it did not disappoint, in fact when we got there, all of us said at once, why have we not been here more? In between Filey and Scarborough, Cayton Bay has a wide, sweeping bay, a year round dog friendly beach, is surrounded by dramatic cliffs and the water does seem very clear.
To The Child’s great excitement, there is also a surf school there. Having made brief enquiries and discovered that he would require an adult (me) to accompany him and deciding it was far too cold at the moment, I promised him, maybe when it is a bit warmer and off we went to meet Will who was going to tell us all about fossils. Will did not disappoint either – most knowledgeable about geology and fossils, he told us about Cayton Bay and the geology and what fossils we could expect to find. We found lots of fossils, such as devil’s toenails and crinoid (sea lily) fossils and fragments of ammonites. We thoroughly enjoyed fossil hunting and resolved to return another time.
This we did a few weeks ago and equipped with our Christmas presents of a fossil hammer, chisel and book, we headed back to Cayton Bay. It was cold but beautiful with hardly anyone, other than a few hardy surfers, on the beach. We found a few devil’s toenails again then The Child let out a shriek of excitement and came running clutching a very plain grey rock which had a ridged pattern in it. Taking our hammer and chisel to it, we gave it a tap and lo and behold, a beautiful ammonite was inside. The Child is so proud of his find and I love that he is interested in this. What better way to spend an afternoon than in the fresh air, surrounded by beautiful scenery and the prospect of finding hidden treasures. We are so lucky that places like this are on our doorstep and I am looking forward to more visits in the future. I may even try out the surfing next time.
We parked in the surf school car park (which is a few pounds for the day) which also has toilet facilities and some snacks in the shop. There is a steep path from the car park going directly down to the beach. You can also park on the road for free and walk down the path to the beach. This is also quite steep. There is also a small café and shop and toilet I think, on the path down from the road.
Hidden Horizons: www.hiddenhorizons.co.uk/
Cayton Bay: www.discoveryorkshirecoast.com/coastal-villages/cayton-bay/
Fossil Hammer: amzn.to/2Dfiaad
Fossil Chisel: amzn.to/2DiuDtE