Fossil Hunting

Fossil Hunting Area

The Oxford Clay is one of the best places for finding fossils in the country, and Kings Dyke is one of the best Oxford clay sites that is still accessible.

To allow visitors to be able to go fossil hunting at all times, a purpose-made fossil hunting area has been established in the reserve. Fossil-bearing clay is extracted from the main quarry and placed in this area on a regular basis so that there should always be a variety of fossils to find.

The Oxford Clay dates back to the Jurassic period 140 million years ago. At that time, Kings Dyke would have been at the bottom of a warm tropical ocean. The seas would have been full of various species of shellfish such as ammonite and belemnite, found in abundance in the fossil area. Middle-sized predators would have included ichthyosaurs (a dolphin-like creature) and plesiosaurs. Both of these would have been about 4-6m in length as would the Jurassic sharks and crocodiles. Fossils of all of these creatures are regularly found in the fossil area. Fossilised wood is also regularly found.

Of a much larger scale, a number of fossil remains have been found of a large filter-feeding fish called Leedsichthys and ocean-going predators such as pliosaurs, both in excess of 20m in length.

Useful Information

Please note that access to the reserve is only open to current members who will be provided with a code for the gate, which is currently locked.
If you are not a member you will need to complete a membership form (See bar on left of page) to obtain a permit and access details before you visit. This typically takes a week to process so if you are intending to visit please allow an appropriate time period.

The fossil area is open at all times, although can be very muddy after heavy rain.

Please note that the facility is provided free of charge for casual fossil collecting and the sale of any fossils found on the site is strictly prohibited.

An identification sheet of some of the more common fossils to be found can be found on our member’s page.

For more information on the fossils or to join an organised fossil trip, why not visit Fossils Galore museum in March or