NORFOLK Museums Service
Stormy day at West Runton

West Runton - East Runton


This classic section and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is used frequently for teaching, for its wealth of features and convenient facilities.
This is an excellent site for fossil collectors. A stormy day and a high tide should clean up the West Runton Freshwater Bed nicely, freshly exposing another crop of fossils.

West Runton Freshwater Bed

West Runton Fresh Water BedFor 300m to the east of Woman Hythe is the main outcrop of the type deposit of the Cromerian warm stage, the West Runton Freshwater Bed. It forms a prominent dark bed at the base of the cliff up to a maximum of 2m thick. It is highly fossiliferous and rich in the remains of plants and trees (seeds, cones, wood, fungi and pollen), molluscs (terrestrial and aquatic shells), fish (scales, teeth and bones), amphibians, large and small mammals (bones and teeth) and birds (bones). The WRFB spans the late Beestonian cold stage to the mid-Cromerian warm stage.


Wanton digging is unproductive. Sieving and careful searching are recommended. Please remember that this is a scientifically crucial site. Help to conserve it, and report any interesting finds to the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service (Cromer Museum 01263 513543 or Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery 01603 493625).

Wet sieving through a 1mm sieve will be best for most purposes. This can be done on site, either using the freshwater land drain pipe at Goss' Gap or by sieving in seawater pools at low water.

Searching requires carefully crawling from one end to the other looking for fragments of bone and teeth that may be visible on the face and surface of the bed.

West Runton Elephant

250 metres east of Woman Hythe is the site of a famous fossil find - the West Runton elephant.

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