Geology: The Sandgate Formation is divided into the Marehill Clay, Pulborough Sandrock, Bargate Beds and Fittleworth Bed. Here, the road cuts through the Pulborough Sandrock. Although completely different in appearance from what is usually thought of as greensand, this is actually part of the Lower Greensand Group.
Fossil collecting: As you walk up Park Lane, you will notice a sandy formation in the banks. This contains outcrops of hard ironstones in pockets. One such pocket is quite easy to find, since it is on either side of a large tree on the left hand side of the road. These contain the ironstones and splitting them will reveal bivalves. These include Gervillella, Nucula, Arca, Toucasia, Parmicorbula and Resatrix. They are often preserved as moulds, but complete specimens can also be found. They also tend to be black on brown rock, so they really stand out when exposed and, if moulds are found, the inside of the shell is shown in great detail. This makes them quite unique. Indeed, the Toucasia bivalve is quite rare in the UK, being a Tethyan immigrant and indicating warm waters, but here it can be found fairly commonly.
Equipment: A chisel should be used to split any loose rock, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted because this site is an SSSI. Alternatively, take loose samples of the rock home for splitting, as it is quite rich in fossils.
Safety: Common sense when collecting at all locations should be used. This is a road and, although hardly ever used, you need to watch out for vehicles. DO NOT leave rocks lying on the road and make sure you tidy up any loose debris when you have finished.
Further information: View public discussions and other people's finds, or add your own reports and photos by going to our Discussion Board. The Sandgate Formation can also be found at Sandgate, Folkestone, although the foreshore exposures are only visible during scouring conditions and often covered up.