5 February 2017

1/40 West Runton Beach, Norfolk

On the 18th August 2001, DrLanky and I were married in the church at West Runton, and you might think that, given the connection, I would be well acquainted with its beach. The truth is that before this trip, the nearest I'd ever got was the cafe at the end of Water Lane.

Given the importance of West Runton to us and our family history, it seemed quite appropriate that this would be the first of our forty visits. It also helps that our first trek was not too far, West Runton being only half an hour from our home in Cawston.

Of course, I'm well aware of the exciting fossil finds along this part of the North Norfolk coast, and that was part of the attraction for our first jaunt. In Clitheroe, our previous home, fossilised crinoids could easily be found in the stone walls of buildings, and NotSoLittleLanky has been fascinated by fossils ever since. So the prospect of a bit of mammoth hunting on a beach was a fairly easy win from a family point of view!

The black feature you can see at the bottom of the cliff on the top picture is a layer of sediment called the West Runton Freshwater Bed. Read all about it here. Here's a close up where the tide has been working away at it - there's nothing particularly interesting in the picture, I just liked the swirling patterns of colour.

The beach is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and it's easy to see why. Even in our short time there, and with untrained eyes, we could clearly see lots of fossilised bits and pieces. No mammoths or rhinocerous bones (as reported by the BBC this week), but fascinating nonetheless.

Part of the plan with the forty visits is to make the effort to go to some of the places on our doorstep, and another is to get out and about as a family. Now that our family has expanded in a canine way, there's also an added incentive to find places where Basil the Sprocker can run off a few of his innumerable calories. Beaches are great for this! We discovered that Basil has a good digging instinct and he certainly has no fear of water. So I suspect there may be a subset of beach visits within this 40/40 challenge.

So now our minds turn from West Runton to the next adventure. Thanks for the suggestions already left in comments. Who knows where we'll get to next? Keep the suggestions coming.


  1. Good start - I have some fossils from the Saudi desert. I think their deserts are an unexplored opportunity for astronomy and fossil hunting! Also saw some presumably ancient cave drawings of men on camels that looked a lot like they were talking on mobile phones!

  2. Fascinating stuff! I love fossils. I don't think our budget will stretch to Saudi Arabia, so I'll put that on the longer term list.