Yorkshire Tots to Teens » Walks » Where to go for the best fossil hunting near Whitby

Where to go for the best fossil hunting near Whitby

Whitby is renowned for fossils, but the best fossil hunting is a mile and a half walk away at the lovely, secluded Saltwick Bay. Happily, the walk there is both kid friendly and includes some beautiful views of the coast along the way.

Be sure to check the tide times before you go as you want to arrive at low tide and make sure you are safely inshore before high tide.

Whitby to Saltwick Bay Walk

The walk from Whitby to Saltwick bay is beautiful and fairly easy and took us around 40 minutes each way. We had three kids and a baby in the front back so obviously it would be much quicker with just adults!

Mother and son walking Whitby 199 steps

The walk starts at the top of the 199 steps which lead up to the graveyard (look out for the pirate’s grave!) next to Whitby Abbey. The steps are steep but there are a few nice stop-off points where you can catch your breath and take in the views if you are walking with little legs!

When you reach Whitby Abbey, cross the main road and you will see a clear path through the grass on the left which leads you to the coastline.

The path, which is a part of the Cleveland way, follows the shoreline and provides spectacular views! Do be aware that it can get muddy and slippery after heavy rain.

There is one set of steps before you reach Whitby Holiday Park, but aside from that, the walk is mostly flat and even.

There is a small shop with drinks and snacks if you need to refuel when you reach Whitby Holiday Park.

Follow the tarmacked road through the holiday park until you see a sign on your left at the edge of the park (pictured below) for Saltwick Bay.

The steps down to Saltwick Bay are steep in parts, but there are some handrails to assist.

Saltwick Bay

Saltwick Bay is lovely and quieter than the main beaches of Whitby. However, there are no facilities so you do need to come prepared.

Be sure to stay well away from the cliffs as they are known for falling rocks and shale.

It’s a great place to dig in the sand, look for fossils, or wade into the sea.

Be on the lookout for aminites and devil’s toenails! You may even get lucky and find some of the famous Whitby Jet, although I still can’t tell jet from coal!

Apparently, you can distinguish jet from coal by using a piece of sandpaper. Locals say “If the mark is black throw it back, if it’s red or brown bring it to town (to be evaluated).”

It’s important to know that hammering into the bedrock is not allowed as the beach is a place of special scientific interest. (Besides, it’s dangerous anyway!)

We always manage interesting finds in rocks at the edge of the tide.

Once you’ve had your share of fossil finding, you can head back to Whitby the same way you came!

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  • I'm an American mum of two Yorkshire tots who love adventures! I run www.yorkshiretots.com, a website for events, news & fun for families in West Yorkshire.

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