With our fantastic dinosaur discoveries here on the Isle of Wight the wonders of our lovely north coast are often overlooked and neglected. Across this lesser publicised coast lies a variety of exiting prehistoric discoveries ready for any avid fossil hunter. From ancient Crocodilian teeth to Ice Age tusks and the microscopic specimens in-between, this coastline offerers a glimpse into a completely different world of feast and famine and the rare preservation of prehistoric life.
We begin our adventure
Our collecting takes place on the coast near Newtown creak. This is a great little spot for collecting as long as your up for a slightly muddy walk down this time of year. As you can see from the images some of the foreshore clays are really exposed, often containing wood debris and occasionally more interesting finds. However, I find that the pebbles along the beach are so productive and more successful than digging through any clay. The first find I usually make is fragments if turtle shell, this beach has an abundance of it. The clays are also very slippy so please watch your footing!
Lets Talk Turtles
As mentioned turtle is incredibly common along this coastline, its easily recognisable with its slightly shiny black surface and honeycomb trabeculae. The individual fragments also often contain pattens of the animals shell, for instance in the image above you can see a line running along the plate. You find two types of shell here Emys the smoother shell and the rougher Trionyx, there is of course the possibility of turtle bones as well so keep your eyes peeled.
Yes, there are lots of lovely vertebra to collect here, I found about 7 of various sizes/specimens on the latest trip, there’s something rather interesting about the shape of fish vertebra (or is it just me), I find them lovely to illustrate. The Photograph shows the largest of the verts I have found from the north coast, it was simply sitting on top of the clay by a tree. I often find checking near fallen trees or around roots is a good place as things get washed in and trapped there waiting to be found (rocks can be a good place for trapping things too).
I sometimes manage to capture the moment of finding before I disturb the fossil from its finding place, this photograph is one of those moments. Here this tiny vertebra has been washed onto this clay by the last tide, its been here for 35 million years but now its preservation has been noticed.
So much to discover
Other Finds Included a great Croc vert from Sandra, this vert was hiding just under the top of the gravel with a tiny edge poking out ready to be found. Although slightly worn its not every day you find a prehistoric croc vert, a super find!
I also managed to find a little croc tooth, although there were less teeth around on this visit, I hope to find more on my next trip.
We also found some very pretty Selenite crystals, these were a nice bonus surprise and shone really well in our winter sunshine.
The Colour of a Landscape
As ever I’m photographing the cliffs around me, the rich orange hues don’t disappoint and cast a bright soft glow to the landscape. I always find the north coast a very greying English landscape full of muted tones, but I seem to have found a bright little gem amongst them on this trip. As ever cliffs can be dangerous so please be careful around them.
This beach is also tidal so if you are planning a visit check your timetable first as you don’t want to find yourself cut off.
If you do fancy a trip to this coast I also recommend HERE for more information about the various stratigraphy of the beach, its also a fabulous site to help identify your finds. If you do find something please get in touch with Dinosaur Isle through their Facebook page, or feel free to drop a message to me on here.
I hope you enjoyed my adventure and I hope to post a new fossil trip soon.