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Introduction to Whitehaven

Whitehaven Fossils and Fossil Collecting
Your Cumbria Geological Guide and Geology Info

Whitehaven is one of the only places in the UK where fossil plants from the Carboniferous can be collected on the coast both on the foreshore and cliffs. This unique location yields some well preserved specimens.

Whitehaven - Cumbria
Last updated: [03/07/04]  last visited 2004
Written by Alister and Alison Cruickshanks
(Whitehaven Foreshore with plant beds exposed) - 2004

Location Information

Whitehaven is a superb location for plants and is probably the most publically accessible location in the UK. There are plenty of good specimens to be found at Whitehaven either in the cliff section on simply on the foreshore.

(Not Recommended)

Whitehaven is not recommended for families. The busy railway which you will need to cross to gain access to the foreshore or tall cliffs make this location potentially dangerous. Please follow safety guidelines.

Although Whitehaven is easy to find, plenty of parking nearby and although the cliff section is a very short walk away, some of the most accessible plant beds can be found on the foreshore. A nearby tunnel provides safe access to the shore.

Foreshore, Cliff

Whitehaven is a foreshore and cliff location, so fossils can be found in both. The cliff section is separated by railway and sea defence and is badly overgrown. However there are accessible sections where you can collect plant remains in situ.

Access is permitted

Please follow our national fossil collecting code

A UK Fossils & Discovering Fossils initiative (c) 2006

Whitehaven Foreshore
The foreshore at Whitehaven yields plants

Other locations similar to Whitehaven

Whitehaven is an excellent location for plant remains, but you could also try Little Haven, Nelton Haven in wales, Writhlington in Avon, Offerton in Cheshire, Besom Hill in Lancashire or New Hay Quarry in Lancashire which is very similar or try Jurassic plant remains from Yorkshire, Cloughton Wyke and Gristhorpe Bay. In Scotland, you can also try Joppa Shore, Anstruther, East Wemyss, or Crail.

Whitehaven fossil plants
Plant remains from Whitehaven are extremly well preserved.


There are two locations at Whitehaven, the first is via the old cliffs. These cliffs are now protected by the sea defence and railway track which separate them from the foreshore. These cliffs are tall and constantly crumble, please take extreme care when collecting here.

Access to the foreshore is via a tunnel nearby. This provides a safe way of getting to the fossil beds.

Stone Tumblers are used for tumbling and polishing rough rock, stones and pebbles including those found on the beach and glass.

Whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed, you could collect rocks, stones and glass from the beach and tumble then at home.

These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. The tumblers can be used with a variety of grits, most commonly Silicon Carbide Grit and Cerium Oxide. We have a wide range of rough rocks for sale too.

Microfossils are much easier to collect because they are so small that the vast majority of collections only concentrate on large finds. These small finds can simply be found by taking small samples of sands, crags, clays and soft rocks and examining them under a microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, both for the study of fossils, but also educational and professional for use in the laboratory. We have Stereo microscopes, Compound Microscopes, Polarising Microscopes and Monocular Microscopes.

We have thousands of Test Sieves for Particle Analysis.

Endecotts Sieves: For accurate dependable results you can't buy a better test sieve than Endecotts. At every stage of manufacture each test sieve is individually inspected.

High Precision Tecan manufactures precision apertures as small as 3 microns for a wide array of applications such as filtering, sieving and nozzles. Its high-performance, ASTM/ISO compliant test sieves satisfy the most demanding fine particle grading requirements.

Why not try...

Looking for more good fossil hunting trips? Why not try the following locations which are all very good for finding fossils...

Whitby, Bracklesham, Kettleness, Eastbourne, Hastings, Hope, Staithes
Quantoxhead, Fishguard, Abereiddy, Whitehaven, Aust, Hunstanton,


Images, Graphics & Content
- (C)opyright 1998-2007 Alister & Alison Cruickshanks.
UK Fossils Management - Alister Cruickshanks & Roy Bullard
UK Fossils Curator - Ian Cruickshanks
UK Fossils is a division of CWA Design and run in conjunction with UKGE. Whilst we try to ensure that all content is accurate and up to date we cannot guarantee this. UK Fossils takes no responsibility in the accuracy of this content, nor takes any liabilities for any trips, events or exchanges between visitors using either the discussion board or the UK Fossils planner. Any posted trips and events by UK Fossils are personal and not arranged by UK Fossils, therefore visitors should seek their own personal insurance cover. Please remember to always check the tide times.
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