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Seven Sisters fossils and fossil collecting

This guide concentrates on the main Seven Sisters section, accessed through the Seven Sisters Country Park. From the A259, park at the Seven Sisters Country Park, which is a large car park, split into main and overspill parts. Note that this is a very popular tourist location and can be very busy. As a result, it is often hard to park. If parking in the overspill car park (where the information centre and toilets are found), take extra care crossing the road, as it can be dangerous with fast moving traffic.
It is a long walk through the park (about one mile). Thankfully, it is quite easy without any hills to climb. Follow the path to the beach (which is signposted) and, once there, walk left (eastwards) along the foreshore.

GRID REF: TV 52056 99489

Echinoids, Sponges, Molluscs, Fish remains
Fossil Collecting at Seven Sisters


This site is world famous for its highly fossiliferous chalk, which is packed with a wide range of different echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves and crinoids. This is one of the best chalk locations in the UK for its variety of fossils and is recommended to all keen chalk fossil hunters.
Where is it

Often high

Although the chalk is highly fossiliferous, the foreshore tends to be fairly green with algae and the very tall cliffs are too dangerous to collect directly from underneath. However, the Seven Sisters is one of the best chalk locations in the UK and is recommended to all keen chalk fossil hunters, but poor beach conditions can mean you come away with nothing.


Older Children


The Seven Sisters is suitable for families, but not recommended for small children. Keep away from the base of the cliff at all times.


Poor Access


It is a long walk down to the cliffs at the Seven Sisters, although you simply follow the long path through the park. This can make access to this location difficult for some, but you can hire bicycles from the visitor centre. Although long, the walk is thankfully over flat land.


Cliffs and Foreshore


Fossils at the Seven Sisters are mostly found simply lying on the foreshore. However, they can also be found in the cliff face and scree slopes, but extreme care should be used when approaching these. We do not recommend you collect fossils from the cliffs and scree.


No Restrictions


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

Seven Sisters
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 should always be used and knowledge of tide times is essential. There are two broad dangers apparent along the Seven Sisters coastline. The first is the tide, which needs to be taken note of as it can reach the base of the cliffs. Always allow plenty of time to return. The second is the danger of falling debris from the high cliffs. Stay away from the foot of the cliffs and, if you are knocking out fossils or hitting rocks, do so well away from the cliffs, as hammer vibrations can cause debris to fall. Hard hats should be worn. Finally, be careful of slipping on seaweed on the rocks of the foreshore.


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

Other Locations similar to Seven Sisters

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

 

You can also find middle chalk at Hooken Cliff, and Pinhay Bay in Devon, and at Hunstanton in Norfolk.

 



Most fossils at the Seven Sisters can be found on the foreshore or at the base of the cliff from the fallen rocks and scree slopes. You will need a geological hammer and chisel to extract them.

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This is a classic location for chalk collectors. However, you will not always come away with plenty of fossils, as this location is very unpredictable. Sometimes, the foreshore can be covered in algae and, with few fresh rock falls, this can make collecting poor. The high cliffs can make things even harder, as collecting from these is very dangerous and not recommended, especially if there are overhangs. Having said this, the Seven Sisters is still highly recommended to collectors and, with a cleaner foreshore or large cliff falls, it can yield the best chalk fossils of any chalk site. And, even if it doesn’t, the long, lovely walk through the park still makes it worth visiting.

Fossils are mostly found in the scree slopes, cliff falls and from the boulders on the foreshore. Sometimes, fossils can be found loose just waiting to be picked up. Most people visit the first section of the cliff, so walk further (tide permitting) to increase your chances of finding fossils.

The most common fossils at the Seven Sisters are echinoids and there are many different species, which fall within four main groups. These are Micrasters, which are the heart-shaped variety; Conulus, which are the small round type; Echinocorys,which are the large oval type; and regular echinoids, which are similar to modern day regular sea urchins. This location is also rich in bivalves and brachiopods, and sponges can additionally be found. You never know what you may find since this site is so rich in fossils.


Small chalk cliff fall at Seven Sisters.

Geology Guide Cretaceous, 85mya

The chalk here contains a huge variety of fossils. The Seven Sisters are, from west to east: Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Brow, Flat Brow, Bailys Hill and Went Hill. More recently due to cliff erosion, an eighth sister has now appeared and this is called Flagstaff Brow. This can be seen between Brass Brow and Flat Brow. At Birling Gap (at the eastern end of the section), the Seaford Chalk Formation can be examined, which yields a different variety of fossils from other the other six (now seven) sisters.

 

At the western end of the section, the Belle Tout Marls and Seven Sisters Flint provide excellent collecting in the Belle Tout beds. The high cliffs extend the stratigraphy up to the crinoid zones in the high Santonian of the Upper Cretaceous....[more]

   


Coprolite containing fish remains...[more]


Flint Micraster...[more]

Related Books
Microscopes
Test Sieves for Microfossils

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 Seven Sisters, 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.

Test Sieves are used when searching for microfossils. We recommend that you use a test sieve with water at different levels. Test sieves for chalk fossils should be 300 microns, and 500 microns.

Our UKGE Store sells Endecotts Test Sieves, which are the highest in accuracy and extremely durable and long lasting. These Test Sieves are fantastic for microfossils. Endecotts Test Sieves come in a variety of sizes, frame material and types, they are fully certificated to EU Standards.

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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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