Geology and Fossils of Budleigh

Budleigh Salterton boasts a rich geological heritage that has captivated the imaginations of geologists and fossil enthusiasts for generations. The charming seaside town, located at the western edge of Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, reveals a treasure trove of geological wonders dating back millions of years.

At the heart of Budleigh Salterton's geological story are the magnificent red cliffs that dramatically define its coastline. These cliffs are composed of Triassic-aged sedimentary rocks, (New Red Sandstones) primarily sandstone and mudstone, which are roughly 250 million years old. They represent a time when the area was a vast desert, complete with shifting dunes and seasonal rivers. The resulting layers of sediment have been sculpted over time, forming the iconic cliffs that overlook the town and the sea.

What truly sets Budleigh Salterton apart is its unique pebble beach from the western edge of the town to the mouth of the River Otter. The beach is composed of a complex and varied collection of pebbles that occasionally yield shell fossils, however, as the beach is a designated SSSI - Site of Special Scientific Interest, no pebbles or fossils can be removed from it. Photographs only, please! For those interested in fossil hunting and collecting, make sure to explore the coast around Lyme Regis, Charmouth, Seatown and West Bay. 

To the knowledgeable geologist, Budleigh’s red cliffs reveal - one of the more fascinating aspects of the geology. Please be aware that the cliff faces are unstable in many places so great care must be observed for everyone’s safety. 


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