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Hock Cliff fossils and fossil collecting

From the A38, head to Frampton on Severn, drive through the village and where the road crosses the canal and veers to a sudden right hand bend, take the road ahead to Fretherne.
Go through the village, passing the church. You will see a footpath on your left. Pass this and continue up the road, where you will find parking for one car near a farm gate. DO NOT block the farm gate.
Walk back down the road the footpath and follow in a straight line until you reach Hock Cliff, along the Severn. There are now two footpaths one going left along the Severn and one to the right. Continue along the footpath to the left, and where the cliffs end you will find easy access to the foreshore. There are several styles and gates to get through with a final gate where the cliff ends.

Grid Ref: 51.77845°N, 2.39236°W
Ammonites, belemnites, crinoids, brachiopods, bivalves, reptiles
Fossil Collecting at Hock Cliff


For those who have visited Watchet in Somerset, looking for fossils in the Blue Lias, this location will seem remarkably similar! Indeed, the same fossils can be found in thick limestone bands and soft shale. Hock cliff is a classic Jurassic location to explore.
Where is it

Medium

 

Fossils can often be found and usually, you can come away with some nice specimens. This may depend on if the foreshore beds are washed out, and if mud has not covered the rocks. Some fossils are poorly preserved in the shale.


Older Children

 

A rocky foreshore with often slippery rocks, makes this location not suitable for children. Older children must be supervised, kept away from the cliffs and away from the mud flats.


Fair Access

 

Easy to find, but a bit of a walk to the foreshore. The foreshore can also be hard going, especially at the middle section if the cliff, where the steep foreshore rocks are slippery. There are no toilets near this site.


Cliffs and Foreshore

 

Fossils are mostly found in the foreshore rocks, but where the cliffs have been washed out and extend as a foreshore platform, they can be easily collected from these beds.


No Restrictions

 

There are no restrictions at this location, but please follow our safe and sensible collecting guidelines.

 

Common sense and knowledge of tide times is essential for all locations. Here, the River Severn often reaches the base of the cliff. The mud flats also can be a danger, and the mud itself makes the foreshore rocks extremely slippery. IMPORTANT: The Severn Bore affects this location, please be aware that this happens throughout the year, where a surge of water will run down this part of the river. DO NOT visit this location when a bore is due. For bore times, please see the website;

http://www.severn-bore.co.uk/


Hock Cliff
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


Last updated:  2010
last visited:  2010
Written by:  Alister and Alison Cruickshanks


You will need a good hammer and chisel and for fossils in the shale, paper to wrap your finds and something to put them in. A pick will also be handy for the shale and a knife for removing fossils.

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When you first enter the beach at Hock Cliff, if you have collected from the Blue Lias of Somerset, you will immediately recognise the same formation here. Bands of Limestone, with thinly laminated shale in between. Indeed, the same fossils can be found. At the first of the cliff, you can search the fallen blocks of Limestone. These can contain ammonites, belemnites and shells such as brachiopods and bivalves. You will need a good hammer as some of the bands can be quite hard.

As you get to the middle of the cliff, you will notice the hard bands on the foreshore, with shale in between. The River Severn regularly washes these beds out and with roughly twice a year, the Severn Bore will keep the beds clean. In these areas of shale, crinoids, ammonites, reptile remains and brachiopods can be found. A layer full of gryphaea can be seen

The only problem with Hock Cliff, is that the lovely pyritic ammonites that can be found at Watchet, here, are too oxidised and so are usually poorly preserver or heavily decayed. Still, there are plenty of other fossils and ammonites in the limestone to be collected.

Geology Guide Jurassic, 200mya


The lower Lias at Hock Cliff.

Most locations along the River Severn feature most of the cliffs being Triassic with the uppermost beds being Jurassic. Here, the Triassic beds are below beach level, so the beds exposed are of the Jurassic Blue Lias. (Lower Lias). Occasionally, the Westbury Beds containing the famous bone bed at Aust can be exposed at low tide during favourable conditions, but it is nearly always covered up with mud. The cliffs here are a series of limestone bands with shale in between....[more]

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Gryphaea shells are very common from Hock Cliff...[more]


Locations similar to Hock Cliff

If you are interested in other similar locations to that of Hock Cliff, you can also try other neaby locations along the River Servern including Aust, Sedbury Cliffs, Wainlode Cliff, and Westbury on Severn.

 

Along the Somerset coast, Blue Anchor and Lilstock are the best locations for Rhaetian fossils with Lavernock and Penarth both in South Wales being very popular locations.

Microscopes
Geology Explained in the Severn Vale
Geology Tools

At Auchinleck, you can find very small fish bones using a microscope. There are plenty of finds to be made without the need of a microscope, but a microcope will enable you to see the smallest fossils. It will also show detail on the fossil fish remains.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

This classic book explains the geology in the Severn Vale and Cotswolds including locations to visit, fossils to find and is full of excellent diagrams and drawings. It has an excellent chapter on Aust, including other locations along the Severn; Westbury on Severn, Wainlode Cliff and Hoc Cliff, and the building of the Severn bridge including the Severn Bore.


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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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