Far Arnside Fossils

A select band of just 4 walked back to Silverdale from Arnside. A and I were joined by another Father and Daughter team. They have moved away from Silverdale (but fortunately not too far away)  and so the girls had some catching-up to do. We soon became two parties. Although we often waited for the girls, somehow they contrived to almost immediately fall far behind again every time.

The weather was fabulous for February and I’ve probably eulogised before about the area around White Creek and Arnside Point, the vast spaces of the bay and the views of the hills which surround it.


Chris is an artist and it’s always fascinating to talk to him, especially when he talks, as he did on this occasion, about his painting and how his approach is evolving. You can see some of his paintings here.

He’s also much more observant than me and without his help I might never have found the many fossils we examined in the rocks at Far Arnside Bay.

One of the most rare and important geological exposures is on the western side of the beach at Far Arnside. Here a smooth bed of upper Dalton Limestone was exposed in 2000, when the salt marsh was eroded by the River Kent channel. The surface of this bed is called a ‘marine peneplaned hard-ground’. It was eroded by coarse calcareous sands shortly after the sediment became lithified (became solid rock). This scouring action cross-sectioned the bedrock and has produced a near-polished surface that now displays many perfectly persevered fossil corals. *

I’m not sure that we found the ‘near-polished surface’, perhaps I shall have to look again sometime. So are the fossils all corals then? I thought the one above looked like a fish and a piece of shell.

 Possibly a fossilised basketball?

 The ghost of an ammonite?

 This was about the right size to be a polo mint glued to the rock.

I’m happy to think that this is coral, so it’s probably the only one which isn’t!

The Kent channel seems to be a little further from the shore here than it was, and it has left behind a nice firm sandy surface, pleasant to walk on.


Things became a little stickier around the stream channels we crossed. Stand around for a while here and you will almost inevitably witness the collapse of part of the bank. It’s like watching the erosion of a river in time-lapse super-speed. It looks like an ox-bow lake, or maybe an oxbow pond, is in the making here.


The Cove.

*From the article ‘South Cumbrian Limestones in the Arnside Area’ by Mike Balderstone and Michael Dewey, originally printed in ‘Keer to Kent’ magazine and anthologised in ‘The Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ edited by Terry Keefe.

Far Arnside Fossils

3 thoughts on “Far Arnside Fossils

  1. You’ll have to take the our kids on this walk next time we visit. They love looking for fossils and had a great time down at the “Jurassic Coast” down near Lyme Regis a couple of years back

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    These were mostly very tiny fossils and it took a while to ‘tune in’ to spotting them – good though. The Jurassic Coast is yet another place on my to do list. I’d like to do the SW Caost path. Hopefully we’ll have a sunny day in September and we can walk round here like we did when you visited before.

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