What equipment do we need for fossil hunting this Easter

It's not always obvious the clothes and accessories you will need when on the beach, hunting for fossils!

Last year we introduced my then 6-year-old to fossil hunting along our county's beach.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself at Beachy Head smashing up rocks and hunting for fossils.

What I've noticed whilst on the beach is what others are wearing.  Whilst shorts I understand, especially in the warmer weather, the beach as you can see from the above shot is rocky and unstable.  You would be surprised how many we saw in sandals and flip flops!

The following is what we are packing this Easter to visit the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, and whilst other families may be packing flip flops, swimwear and inflatables for their beach trip, this is what we shall be taking:

Safety First

When you go on a fossil hunt with a guide, you will be asked to wear a hard hat and goggles.  For children, they can wear their bicycle helmet, and that is exactly what we will be taking for Max.  Not that we'll be close to the cliff edge, but I need him to wear this.

His goggles are also a must, especially as his dad can hit a rock rather hard, as I found out with bits of brick in my hair and I was a good 6 foot away from him.

Clothing & Footwear

Wear what you would wear on a hike.  The ground is uneven and whilst Wellington boots are acceptable, I highly recommend walking boots if you have them.  Wellies will be ideal for going in the shallow rock pools or along the sea edge, but I feel happier knowing we have footwear designed for uneven ground.

Waterproofs are a must if the weather is typically British.  It may be bright sunshine and 30 degrees on the first day, then drizzle and a drop by 20 degrees the next.   A slightly overcast day or a day after a storm is ideal conditions for fossil hunting, but only if you're wrapped up accordingly.


Depending on the location will dictate which accessories you need, some locations, such as Beachy Head you can use your hammer and chisel.  Other locations in Sussex like Bracklesham Bay is not necessary, but one thing you will need - a very sturdy, robust backpack.

This is an item often overlooked, or just a small bag has been taken on the beach.  This will not do.  There is a good chance that you are going to come back with some stones with fossil imprints as well as fossils themselves, and these will not be light.

Along with your snacks, water and lunch, you will need tissues and smaller bags for more delicate finds.  Make sure your backpack has a section for this.

For this trip, I'm also planning on purchasing diving gloves for my son, as he loves to have a rummage in the water.  I noticed from our last visit that his (woollen) gloves were soaked within minutes, and then his hands were cold until I gave him my gloves, which also went in the water.

It's more of a Hike

If you treat your day trip fossil hunting more of a hike along the beach and dress accordingly, you can't go far wrong and will have a wonderful day discovering the yesteryear of our world.  Just remember only take what you feel is enough, left pieces for others to find and never hammer the cliffs.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds a great fun idea for a day out, but you're right about safety first. I haven't been to Beachy Head since I was a child. Would love to visit again


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