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Amazingness

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Beachy Head final arrangements
Meeting point: The fossil hunt will begin outside the small cafe alongside St Bede’s Prep School at the bottom of Duke’s Drive (shown right).
If approaching the area from the west (A259) turn right on to Warren Hill Road (B2103), the road then divides with the B2103 continuing into
Upper Dukes Drive, follow the road as it winds down the hill to the coast, the school and cafe are located where the road veers left along the coast.
Similarly participants travelling from Eastbourne should follow the coast road as shown on the map. For drivers with satnav the postcode is
BN20 7XL.
Roadside parking is available throughout the area.

Meet here
Meet here

The fossil hunt will begin with a demonstration of some of the specimens collected from the chalk over the years, including ammonites, echinoids, starfish, sponges, bivalves and others.
The demonstration also includes an introduction to the local geology – how the rocks were formed, what the prehistoric environment was like, and what the fossils reveal about life during the Late Cretaceous up to 100 million years ago.

The fossil hunt: From the meeting point there are two possible routes the fossil hunt can take (see map right), either route provides plenty of opportunity to search for fossils.
Depending on the group's requirements a decision can be made on the day, alternatively the route can be agreed in advance on request.
The green route provides immediate access to the beach and follows the coastline to Cow Gap. The route takes the group over a lot of rocky terrain which can be challenging in places, especially when accompanied by young children or less able people. The green route requires that the fossil hunt begins no less than an hour before low-tide as the rising tide can restrict the exit towards Cow Gap. From Cow Gap the route returns along the cliff-top to the original meeting point.
The red route begins with a 15 minute walk along the cliff-top, avoiding the most rocky stretch of beach, before descending to beach level at Cow Gap, the route then continues (optional) along the beach towards Beachy Head Lighthouse before returning to Cow Gap and back to the original meeting point.
This route is most suitable for families with young children and less able individuals.
Participants will be encouraged to explore the area in search of fossils for approximately 2 hours (flexible on the group’s requirements and prevailing weather conditions). The event leader will be on hand throughout the fossil hunt to offer guidance and identify finds.
Hammers and chisels can be used to extract specimens from the chalk boulders and you can keep the specimens you find.
What to bring:
-

Footwear suitable for walking over slippery rocks (walking boots are recommended).
Clothes suitable for the prevailing weather conditions i.e. waterproofs if rain is forecast.
Sunglasses if the day is forecast to be sunny (the glare from the chalk can be strong).
A rucksack to carry your food and refreshments, and fossils you find.
Newspaper (or equivalent) to wrap fossils to prevent them getting damaged.
A hammer & chisel are recommended for the best experience. Our light-weight rock hammer & chisel kit is ideal for children and adults seeking a versatile tool for splitting small rocks and extracting fragile specimens. Our heavy-weight (2.5lb) hammer & chisel kit is capable of splitting large boulders in search of fossils – recommended for adults only.

Hard hats and protective eyewear will be provided to all participants.

Please return any safety equipment borrowed at the end of the fossil hunt. For more information about tools & equipment click here: www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/equipment.htm.
Participants are also encouraged to read the following page before the trip in order to familiarise themselves with the palaeontology of the area www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/beachy_head_fossils.htm
PUBLIC TOILETS: There are public toilets available at the meeting point however they are not always open. The nearest alternative facilities are at the hill-top a 5 minute drive away: http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=558959&Y=95821&A=Y&Z=110.
For drivers with satnav the postcode is BN20 7YA.

ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES
FOR PARENTS & CARERS

Please take a moment to read the following pages fully as it provides a checklist of steps you can take to ensure any children participating in the fossil hunt gain as much from the experience as possible. This information should be read in addition to the health & safety and conditions of participation provided separately.

PREPARING FOR THE FOSSIL HUNT
Children should be dressed in clothing suitable for the location and weather conditions forecast. Like many of the coastal locations visited Beachy Heas is exposed to strong winds and cold, especially during the winter and spring months. Young children are more susceptible to the cold and should be dressed accordingly. It’s a good idea to pack extra clothing that can be carried in a rucksack or shoulder bag if not required.
Food & drink are not provided so please pack sufficient refreshments for the duration of the fossil hunt (usually 2-3 hours). The fossil hunt takes place up to 20 minutes walk from the car park / meeting point, so any food & drink will need to be carried in a rucksack of shoulder bag. On the following page you’ll find a checklist of steps you can take to prepare for the fossil hunt. If you are in any doubt about what to bring, please don’t hesitate to contact
Discovering Fossils for information and advice.

Advice

What to wear/bring

Footwear

In rocky locations like Beachy Head the ideal footwear are a strong pair of walking boots/shoes specifically designed for slippery, loose surfaces. If the children don’t have walking boots then wellies are the next best alternative.
Trainers and everyday shoes are generally less suitable for rocky locations. Flip flops, sandals and slip-on shoes are unsuitable in rocky locations.

During cold/wet weather, especially between Oct – Apr, it’s necessary to wear extra layers of clothing to keep warm. Ideally this should include:

Warm waterproof clothing

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
5)
6)

a thermal vest / base layer a long-sleeved shirt a jumper/fleece a waterproof/windproof outer shell/jacket warm trousers, preferably windproof gloves* a hat**

**Hard hats will be issued at Beachy Head due to the risk of falling rocks. It’s not possible to wear a hat beneath a hard hat; however, the hard hats offer some insulation from the cold.

Sunglasses

If the weather is forecast to be sunny a pair of sunglasses are recommended. In coastal locations in particular the glare off the water and cliff-face will amplify the brightness/UV.

Hammer & Chisel

A hammer & chisel will be required to extract fossils from the loose boulders. A small number will be available to share among the group, however for the best experience please provide the child with their own. A basic hammer & chisel can be purchased from Discovering Fossils, or alternatively please visit your local DIY store. Safety equipment

Hard hats and protective eye glasses will be provided to all participants in locations where there is a risk of falling rocks and where participants will be using (or observing) a hammer & chisel. Hard hats must be worn at all times; glasses can be taken off when not in use or within range of flying debris.

Transporting fossils

It’s important to protect any fossils discovered from damage during transportation. Newspaper or foam sheets are recommended to wrap delicate specimens, and elastic bands will prevent the wrapping coming off. Protective wrapping and elastic bands are not provided, so please pack a dozen or more of each. Please remember to leave sufficient room in the rucksack/bag to carry the wrapped fossils.

Food & Drink

Please pack sufficient refreshments for the duration of the fossil hunt (usually 23 hours). High energy foods are recommended, as the activities will be physical.

Toilet facilities

The fossil hunt will not take place near any public toilets, and we therefore recommend that participants use any available facilities at the car park, or nearby prior to the fossil hunt. In an emergency there are usually discrete places on the beach.

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