Folkestone Fossil Beds


By Phil Eyden

Note: Phil welcomes discussion on this article in the Fossils and History forum on the Message Board.


Folkestone is located at the extreme southeast tip of England. It is a port-town with a small harbour and is roughly about 30 miles away from France. Folkestone is a very historical town, the area having been settled at least since the Bronze Age and there is evidence of Roman occupation in the shape of a large villa overlooking the harbour slightly to the north of the town. This lies buried between to two Napoleonic defensive Martello-Towers that overlook the sheltered East Wear Bay, and some of the most productive and interesting fossil beds in the UK. The geology of the area is quite interesting with a sequence of varying rock types along a couple of miles of seashore.

The earliest rocks at Folkestone consist of Lower Greensand exposed to the north of the town and run through a sequence of Lower Greensand, Gault Clay (phasing into Upper Greensand) and Chalk, the whole sequence dating from approximately 120 to 80 million years old. The chalk increases in thickness to the north culminating with the famous white cliffs of Dover before dipping off to the north approaching Deal. The complex geology of the area has caused landslips, the impervious clay sandwiched between the Lower Greensand and the chalk has been known to slip under the enormous pressure causing landslides in an area known as 'The Warren'; it is alleged that the railway line that cuts through this area en route to London is extremely expensive to maintain due to the...
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About the Author
Phil joined the staff in April 2003. He collects fossils as a hobby, frequently plundering a quarry at Folkestone in the U.K. He has a degree in British archaeology and works for a government department at Dover in England.


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