Fossil Sponge from Flamborough

This fossil sponge was collected from the beach at Selwicks Bay, Flamborough Head, on a Rockwatch weekend in the early 1990s. It was embedded in a fragment of chalk that had fallen from the cliff, so it dates from the Upper Cretaceous Period, 95 to 65 million years ago. I drew it for my 1996 book Yorkshire Rock, […]

Greenfield Valley

9 a.m.: The mist has cleared and we can see the conifer plantations of the Greenfield Valley again. Two fieldfares settle on the rushy pasture in front of the farm. With their grey rump, greyish head and slithers of white on the front of their folded wings they’re more strikingly smart than the resident mistle thrush […]

Orthoceras

This belemnite-like cephalopod was actually more closely related to the present-day Nautilus. This fossil from Morocco has been polished to show the compartments that the cone-shells were divided into. Each compartment or camera is divided from the next by a wall or septa but connected by a central tube called a siphuncle. After the death of […]

Crinoids

WHEN WE were walking between Hope and Castleton in the Peak District on Wednesday, we came across crinoid fossils in some of the capstones of the drystone wall as we crossed a stile. Crinoids are also known as sea-lilies although they’re invertebrate animals, relatives of sea urchins and starfish. They’ve been called ‘starfish on stems’; creatures that spread […]

Calamites

AS WE WALKED up to the moor at the top end of Langsett Reservoir I spotted this fossil of Calamites in the sandstone slab of the footpath. Calamites was a the giant horsetail of the Carboniferous Period, 300 million years ago. Whorls of narrow leaves grew from each joint in the stem. In the close […]