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Bowleaze Cove fossils and fossil collecting

There are two different access points at Bowleaze Cove. However, it is possible to walk from one point to the next, but due to the long distance involved, it is best to concentrate on one end or the other.
Redcliff Point is best accessed from Weymouth. Park at the end of the road called Bowleaze Cove Way and walk east.
An alternative access point that is ideal for the section to the east of Redcliff Point is Osmington Mills. This is best accessed by parking at the bottom of the road at Osmington Mills, off the A353. Once on the beach, walk west.

GRID REF: 50.63391°N, 2.37571°W

ammonites, belemnites, crinoids, mollusc's
Fossil Collecting at Bowleaze Cove

The Oxford Clay at Bowleaze Cove yields ammonites and is rich in reptile remains. Giant fossil oyster shells are also plentiful. This location is best visited after scouring tides, although during these times, you will need wellington boots.
Where is it


Fossils at Bowleaze Cove can often be found washed out on the foreshore. However, this tends to be during scouring tides. However, at other times, you can collect from the harder beds.

Older Children Only

Bowleaze Cove is very rocky and therefore it is not suitable for younger children.

Good Access

This is a fairly easy location to access, although it can be hard going over the rocky foreshore.

Foreshore, Cliffs

Most fossils are found in the large boulders along the foreshore. However, fossils can also be found washed out of the clay on the beach.

No Hammering Cliff

This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline. Please follow the Fossil Code of Conduct. Access is permitted SSSI -


Damage has already been caused to this heritage site by people using power tools. This is strictly against SSSI rules and any attempt to ignore these rules may result in prosecution.

Common sense when collecting at all locations should always be used and prior knowledge of tide times is essential. Care should especially be taken along the coast from Weymouth to Ringstead of tides, as the sea can cut you off. It is easiest to become cut off at Redcliff Point, because the sea always reaches this point. There are a large number of boulders in difficult positions at Redcliff Point and the rocks are slippery with seaweed, so, care must be taken.. The high cliffs east of Redcliff Point are particularly dangerous, due to regular cliff falls and falling rocks.

Bowleaze Cove
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
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Contact: Christine Nutkins
Tel: UK (01297) 560556
Tel: International +441297 560556 Address: Higher Spence, Wootton, Fitzpaine, Charmouth, Dorset.

Email: Website: (Typing "Higher Spence into your search engine)

Dorset coastal cottages

We are a holiday agent for 120 carefully selected and inspected cottages within 10 miles of Dorset's spectacular World Heritage Coast and Path. All are old, many are beamy and thatched, most have open fires or logburners plus central heating. Rents include electricity, gas etc. and all linen/towels.

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Last updated:  2008
last visited:  2000
Written by:  Alister and Alison Cruickshanks
Edited by:  Jon Trevelyan

Locations similar to Bowleaze Cove

Other locations with Kimmeridge Clay are, Chapmans Pool, Kimmeridge Bay, Lothbeg, Portgower, Helmsdale, Balintore and Eathie, in Scotland, or Wyke Regis, Bowleaze Cove and Ringstead in Dorset.

Location Photos

Fossil Collecting
Your Reports

Redcliff Point is excellent for Oxford Clay fossils. Here, a vast amount of Oxford Clay is well exposed on the foreshore, which extends just east of the point. Hundreds of giant oysters and Gryphaea can be seen scattered everywhere along the foreshore (the most common bivalves are Gryphaea dilatata and Lopha), beach conditions permitting. Ammonites can also be found here (Cardioceras) with a range of other shells. There are a number of red-coloured nodules that contain very well-preserved fossils, including large ammonites. However, these are rarely complete.

Some very large mussel shells can also be found by digging into the clay. These are extremely fragile. Occasionally, oysters grew on and around an ammonite, and you can sometimes see the pattern of an ammonite mould on the oyster or the oyster and ammonite are actually still attached. Such ammonites can be quite large and in good condition.

Most of the large ammonites are rusted, decomposed and will simply crumble on being picked up. However, smaller ammonites can still be found. In the past, crocodile and crustacean remains, along with ichthyosaur bones, have been recorded from here.

At Bowleaze Cove, just west of Osmington Mills, the Kimmeridge clay is well exposed on the foreshore during winter months, and this tends to be the best place to collect fossils. Many flat and worn ammonites can be found, along with a few shells. During beach scouring, a wider range of fossils can be found, including many whole ammonites. However, the best beds are not always exposed, but, if the clay is exposed, fossils can be found simply by searching on the foreshore.

In addition, Lower Corallian blocks yield many trace fossils, especially in the Preston Grit, where the burrows of Rhizocorallium and Thalassinoides can be seen. The trace fossils Asterosoma and Diplocraterion, together with the bivalve Pleuromya have been found. Shells, ammonites are also common from the Osmington Oolite, but these are quite poorly preserved. In fact, larger ammonites tend to be better preserved than the smaller ones.

Further west, large Lower Corallian blocks yield fossils. For these, you will need a good heavy hammer, as they will need splitting....[more]

Fossil Hunting at Bowleaze Cove
Kimmeridge Clay: Ammonites from on the foreshore

Geology Guide Jurassic, 150-160mya

Just west of Osmington Mills, heading towards Bowleaze Cove, excellent exposures of Corallian Beds can clearly be seen. The Kimmeridge Clay can also be seen well exposed on the foreshore. Sandsfoot Clay and Nothe Clay are also present. There is also around 26m of Kimmeridge Clay here, together with 19m of Sandsfoot Clay Beds.

At Redcliff Point, the Lamberti Zone and Mariae Zone from the Upper Oxford Clay can be seen. Redcliff Point itself is part of a large landslide. East of Redcliff point, the Bencliff Grit and Trigonia Beds (Osmington Oolite) overlay the Nothe Clay and Preston Grit. There is about 1.7m of Preston Grit, together with over 8m of Nothe Grit...[more]

Goggins Barrow, near Osmington Mills showing slipped Kimmeridge Clay
Goggins Barrow, near Osmington Mills showing slipped Kimmeridge Clay
and the Corallian Formation at Bowleaze Cove

More Guides

Plesiosaurus Vertebrae
ichthyosaur phalanges

A knife and pick are useful, as the sediments at Bowleaze Cove consist of both Oxford and Kimmeridge Clay, which are both fairly soft. When the foreshore is exposed, suitable footwear should be worn. A small trowel is also useful, although most fossils can simply be lifted from the clay. Ammonites can be found in the Corallian Beds, which can be extremely hard. Therefore, hammers (ideally a lump hammer), safety goggles and chisels should be taken if walking from Weymouth or east past Redcliff Point to the small Corallian outcrop.

Related Books
Geological Supplies

Discover Dorset Fossils

A fantastic well written book covering fossils of the Dorset Coast. It contains useful tips and the most popular locations along the coast along with the fossils you can find. This popular book 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 Bowleaze, you can find Microfossils from the Oxford and Kimmeridge Clay. You only need a small sample of the clay. You then need to break it down in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once the clay is processed, you can then view the contents using a microscope. Some people use a Stone Tumbler to mix the clay with water prior to sieving.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereo microscope for viewing microfossils. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

UKGE, the owners of UK Fossils, are your market leader for Geological Supplies and Geology Equipment. Suppling Retail, Education and Trade in the UK, Europe and beyond.

We sell a wide range of geological hammer and geological picks as well as fossil tools, starter packs and geological chisels.

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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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