Eight top UK spots for beachcombing

The tail-end of the year is a great time for searching beaches for fossils and other treasures, with winter storms yielding everything from beautiful shells and unusual sea creatures, to reptile and dinosaur remains. Here are some of the best places to explore...

1 The Jurassic Coast, Dorset/Devon
A designated World Heritage Site for its incredible geology, the layers of sedimentary rock along this famous coast line tell the story of Earth's history. Winter storms reveal new discoveries in the fossil layers. For help finding and identifying fossils, you can join a guided walk from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre or Lyme Regis Museum.

2 Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire
Surrounded by brightly coloured fisherman's cottages, the picturesque sand-and-shingle bay is dotted with fossil-filled pools at low tide. Fossils are also exposed in the cliff face after heavy downpours.

3 Compton Bay, Isle of Wight
Pounded by waves, the Isle of Wight's rapidly eroding southwest coast is a hotspot for dinosaur bones and footprints. Maximise your chances of finding fossils by booking a guided tour with an expert -- see dinosaurexpeditions.co.uk.

4 Herne Bay, Kent
Look along the foreshore for prehistoric, jet-black shark teeth -- especially after periods of scouring tides. If you're really lucky, you might find a mammoth tusk.

5 Kilve beach, Somerset
A Site of Special Scientific Interest for its rich geology, the beach has spectacular rock formations and is a great place to find ammonites and reptile remains.

6 Scarist a, Isle of Harris
With miles of golden sand and views over the Sound of Taransay, Scarist a offers superb beachcombing opportunities in a stunning setting. Look for colourful shells and interesting drift wood.

7 The Amber Coast , Suffolk
The fossilised resin found here is thought to originate from an ancient forest that once stood where the Baltic Sea now lies. Once polished, the resin can reveal ancient specimens trapped inside.
suff olkcoast andheaths.org

8 White Park Bay, North Antrim
Backed by sand dunes and chalk grasslands, this stunning secluded bay is a relaxing place to be. Search the golden sands for fossils such as belemnites, ammonites and gryphaea ('devil's toenails').
nationaltrust .org.uk/white-park-bay

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