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White Nothe fossils and fossil collecting

The old way of accessing White Nothe was through the field car park at Holworth House. However, this is no longer open and the nearest place to park at White Nothe is a fair distance away. Access is now best from Ringstead, by walking east.
The car park can be accessed from the toll road off the A353 to Ringstead. Follow the road and take a sharp right at the top of the hill. It will then take you to the low cliff where you will need to walk east. Ringstead is to the south of Poxwell.

GRID REF: 50.62662°N, 2.32977°W

echinoids, belemnites, crinoids, mollusc's
Fossil Collecting at White Nothe

Where else do you get to collect fossils from what used to be known as the Upper, Middle and Lower Chalk, and the Greensand within just a few metres? This location is superb for its geology, but also for its cretaceous ammonites and other fossils.
Where is it

Fairly High


White Nothe is a location that is not often visited by fossil hunters, so there is often plenty to be found, especially after a high tide. However, you really need the right conditions for any decent finds.

Older Children Only


This location is not suitable for young children because of the long walk and rocky foreshore.

Poor Access

It can be a long walk down to the beach and the rocky foreshore can be quite difficult. The car park is also very hard to find.

Foreshore, Cliffs


Most of the fossils can be found on the foreshore, especially after storms, but fossils are also commonly found in the cliff.

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 be taken and knowledge of tide times should always be noted. Ensure you visit during falling tide and return in good time as it is easy to be cut off from the tide. At White Nothe, many large boulders can make access very difficult and it is easy to trip or fall over. You should also keep away from the cliff faces.

White Nothe
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



Higher Spence

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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.

Rentable by the week or 3 day Short Break all year round!!

Please call: 0800 9804070 for a Brochure or visit our website on

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£10/Year or 'FREE' for return links from accommodation website pages.

Last updated:  2008
last visited:  2003
Written by:  Alister and Alison Cruickshanks
Edited by:  Jon Trevelyan

Geological Tools

The use of hammers is not allowed. Hard hats should be worn at all times, as the cliffs are unstable. Take plenty of drink and food if you are planning to do the full walk.

Location Photos

Fossil Collecting
Your Reports

This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline, so follow the Fossil Code of Conduct. It is also a SSSI, so hammering the cliff and bedrock is not allowed. 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.

From the chalk, echinoids (sea urchins) can often be collected by simply picking them up from the foreshore. There is a quite a variety of species, the most common being Holaster. White Nothe is also well known for giant ammonites, which are surprisingly well preserved. Many brachiopods and bivalves can also be found, along with sea urchin spines and pieces of crinoids.

In the Greensand, there are rich, well-preserved brachiopod and bivalve beds, which yield a great variety of species. Gastropods can also be collected, if the Greensand is freshly exposed on the foreshore, it is as soft as that of the Gault, but exposure to air turns it rock hard. During scouring tides, many very good molluscs can be collected in near perfect condition....[more]

Fossil Hunting at White Nothe

Geology Guide Cretaceous, 93-110mya

Southeast of Holworth House, there is a range of Lower and Upper Cretaceous rocks, consisting of Upper Greensand and Chalk. The fault at Holworth House dominates White Nothe giving rise to vertical sections.

The chalk is made up of the Basement Bed, the Grey Chalk (with fine rhythmic banding and grey spiky flints representing Thalassinoides burrows), Plenus Marls and the Holywell Nodular Chalk, and the Lewes Nodular Chalk and the Seaford Chalk Formations. Large basal Cenomanian blocks can be seen on the beach. The glauconitic chalk Basement Bed yields many fossils. The chalk comes down to beach level along with the Upper Greensand, which is very soft when first exposed to the air. If soft, many good fossils can be easily be picked out with a knife from rocks on the beach.

You are limited by the sea as to how far you can go. It constantly reaches the cliff face just around the corner from the start of the walk. However, if it is possible to hire a boat, the Upper Chalk sections beyond the headland are very fossiliferous...[more]

Showing Upper Greensand and Upper Chalk slippages
Showing Upper Greensand and Upper Chalk slippages

More Guides

Holaster sp....[more]

Other Locations similar to White Nothe

Not far from White Nothe is Pinhay Bay, Hooken Cliff, and Beer Head, which is also a very good location for chalk fossils.

There are so many chalk locations, some of the best are in Sussex and Kent. The most popular being Seven Sisters, Peacehaven, Beachy Head and Eastbourne.

There are also good chalk locations in Norfolk, mostly foreshore exposures at Overstrand, West Runton and Weybourne. In Kent you can also try DoverNorth of England, Chalk locations such as Danes Dyke are very popular with the famous white cliffs of Bempton.

At Whitecliff Bay and Culver Cliff on the Isle of Wight, Culver Cliff (west of the bay) has tall cliffs of Upper Chalk

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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