Check out the local weather conditions, courtesy of the isle of Sheppey sailing club
I have been asked on many occassions:- how do I find fossils on Sheppey? where is the best place to go to find them? My reply is simple:- finding fossils on Sheppey is hard work and at the end of the day you may not find anything. Then I ask, what is it that you are interested in? Small specimens or the larger rarer fossils like crabs and lobsters. The reason for this is that the variety of forms of preservation determines the way to look. For smaller fossils, look amongst the pyrite and gravel accumulations on the beach. Fresh pyrite is to be sought out. It is often of a greenish colour and where twigs and woody fragments still retain some of their carbonacious coating. The older pyrite is always brown and rusty. Most fossils found in the older pyrite are worn and damaged.
Pyrite accumulation with log fragment
Shark tooth in graded gravel
Nipa husk in pyrite accumulation
Sieving for small teeth - field trip member
The best ways of looking for the smaller specimens is to either get down on hands and knees and search the pyrite and wave sorted gravel very carefully. The teeth are found throughout these accumulations and within the fine gravel above the level of the pyrite. I have found that a reliable method of identifying the level where the teeth are deposited is to begin low down on the beach working my way to the top. When teeth are encountered others will be more or less on the same level. Fish vertebra, small fish skulls, very small crabs and ray plates are usually found within the pyrite and are differentiated from the pyrite as they are shihy black, the pyrite is dull. Small fossils can also be found washing out of the soft wave washed clay at the base of the cliff, but although fresh and of a better condition are more infrequent. Check the images below.
Worn crab nodule as found
Trace fossil on septerian cement stone
Gastropod in situ in soft clay at base of cliff
Bivalve in septaria