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Osmington Mills fossils and fossil collecting

Osmington Mills can be accessed by parking at the bottom of the road there, which is off the A353.
Once on the beach, walk east towards Ringstead. Both Black Head and Bran Point will be seen along this stretch of coastline.
Alternatively, you can park at Ringstead and walk west.

GRID REF: 50.63391°N, 2.37571°W

ammonites, molluscs, echinoids, trace
Fossil Collecting at Osmington Mills

This is another Jurassic location where ammonites can be found. The ammonites from Osmington Mills can be quite worn and hard work is required to get them out of the rocks. However, sometimes if you are lucky, you can find one lying on the foreshore.
Where is it



Fossils at Osmington Mills can often be found, but you will have to work to find them. A heavy lump hammer may come in handy. Occasionally, you can find ammonites washed out along the foreshore.

Not for Children


Osmington Mills is very rocky and therefore we do not recommend it for children.

Good Access


It 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, but fossils can also be found washed out on the foreshore or within the cliff face.

No Hammering Cliff


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


This is 'Private Land', Access for digging is strictly forbidden.

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 be especially taken at Osmington Mills of tide times, as the sea can cut you off. Access down to the beach at Osmington Mills can also be dangerous after heavy rain, as mud slippages can make the path very slippery.

Osmington Mills
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
Click here to buy a tide table



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

Locations similar to Osmington Mills

Osmington Mills is a location where you will need a good strong hammer and you will have to work for your finds. Along the dorset coast, other similar locations are Eype and Thorncombe Beacon.

Location Photos

Fossil Collecting
Your Reports

This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline, is a SSSI and private land. No hammering on the cliff is allowed and digging is strictly forbidden. Damage has already been caused to the heritage site by people using power tools. This is strictly against SSSI rules and any attempt to ignore them may result in prosecution.

The best fossils are found in the boulders along the foreshore. These can be split using a large hammer and a chisel. The material is quite hard, so you will have to work for your finds. Occasionally, fresh cliff falls yield ammonites, which are easily extracted from the blocks. At low tide, check the foreshore exposures, as these can also contain good fossils, which the sea has washed out of the rocks for you.

An exceptional section of Corallian here contains many fossils, mostly trace fossils, including Spongeliomorpha. Concretion blocks, which are derived from the Upper Greensand and Gault Clay, contain oysters, serpulids, echinoids, the ammonite Hoplites, and other derived fossils. These can mainly be found along the beach below Black Head.

Walking east, once the Preston Grit is reached near to small waterfall, you can find bivalves (Pleuromya, Gryphaea and Myophorella hudlestoni). Occasionally, the trace fossil Diplocraterion parallelum can be seen. The Middle White Oolite is crowded with the trace fossil Arenicolites variabilis, which leads onto the Trigonia Beds. Many fallen blocks contain the bivalve, Myophorella clavellata.

Fossil Hunting at Osmington Mills

Geology Guide Jurassic, 155mya

The cliffs at Osmington Mills are well known for their excellent sections of Corallian Beds and Kimmeridge Clay. Landslips of the Cretaceous Cenomanian Basement Bed are also often seen. West of Osmington Mills, the upper part of the Corallian and the lower Kimmeridge Clay are more frequent and, at Black head, a full sequence of Kimmeridge Clay from the basal beds to levels above the White Stone Band can be observed. East of the slipway at the car park at Osmington Mills, the lower cliffs are formed from Northe Grit.

At the lowest point of cliffs, there is a waterfall over the Preston Grit. Walking east, the Qualicosta Bed forms a ledge west of Bran Point. From here, a fault brings the Middle White Oolite Bed against the Pisolite. Continuing east, the Trigonia Beds can be seen in the cliffs, which dip to beach level.....[more]

Eype Clay at Osmington Mills
Bran Point, showing separation of Bencliff Grit and Osmington Oolite

More Guides

Trigonia Clavellata Formation, The Red Bed
Trigonia Clavellata Formation, The Red Beds.


The material at Osmington is very hard and therefore heavy-duty hammers and chisels should be taken. Ideally, safety goggles should be worn when hitting rock and suitable walking shoes should be worn.
Stone Tumblers
Test Sieves for Microfossils

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in a stone tumbler (Lapidary). You can polish stones and rocks from the beach which will look fantastic polished using a stone tumbler.

You can polish rough rock and beach glass whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed. These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. They can even be used for amber and fossils.

At most locations, you can find microfossils. You only need a small sample of the sand. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once the sand is processed, you can then view the contents using a microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

Test Sieves are used when searching for microfossils. Microfossils can be found in many locations, and all you need is a small amount of sample such as clays, sands and shales, or if you have acid, limestone, oolite or chalk.

Our UKGE Store sells Endecotts Test Sieves, which are the highest in accuracy and extremely durable and long lasting. These Test Sieves are fantastic for microfossils. Endecotts Test Sieves come in a variety of sizes, frame material and types, they are certificated to EU Standards.

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(C)opyright 2008 - UKGE Limited, UK Fossils Network and Deposits Magazine, all rights reserved.
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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