woman beach combing

Beach combing tips

You can find some really incredible things when you’re beach combing along our coastline. Whitby boasts some very impressive finds, from the fossilised remains of creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period, to beautiful pieces of amber and jet.

We’re very lucky to have such interesting things to be found on our coast. So, we’re going to share some local secrets and beach combing tips to help you find something special during your visit.

What can you find on Whitby’s beaches?

It feels like there is no limit to what can be found along our coast! The really special finds in Whitby include fossils, jet and amber, but they’re by no means the only things people come in search of. You’ll be able to find lovely shells and pebbles, driftwood pieces, sea glass, geodes, pottery, animal bones, and pieces of ships too.

hand holding a find from beach combing

Respect the environment

We know how exciting it is to beach comb and we know lots of our visitors spend many hours exploring our beaches. But please remember that the coast is a natural environment. Many creatures use the natural things you’re collecting for food and shelter.

Take only one or two special pieces and leave the rest behind to help us look after our beaches and the animals that live here. And, if you’ve brought a pack up or takeaway drink along with you, please make sure you take all litter away with you. There are plenty of bins by the sea and throughout the town that you can use.

Best time to go beach combing

The best time to go beach combing is after a storm. The choppy waters, rain and wind work interesting finds loose from the cliffs. You’ll find them deposited by the waves all across the beach if you look carefully.

It’s also best to look when the tide is going out, as the finds are typically easier to spot when they’re wet. Plus, you’ll be the first, so others won’t have nabbed the best finds before you arrived.

Where to look

You’re most likely to find pieces of jet and amber caught up in clumps of seaweed and ocean debris. Taking the time to sort through the weed can be very rewarding, but don’t be disheartened if you don’t find anything first time round. It takes time, practice and a lot of luck!

If you do discover some jet or amber, make sure to look carefully around the immediate area. The sea is excellent at sorting things, so if you’ve found one piece, it is likely there will be others close by.

woman picking up a shell while beach combing

Beach combing tips for beginners

There are lots of things that experienced beach combers do to make the most of their time on the sand. These include:

  • Walk slowly – you’ll spot more!
  • Only look for one type of thing at once so you can get your eye in
  • Wrap up warm and wear water proof shoes or wellies
  • Bring a bucket or suitable container for your finds
  • Have a re-fillable drink to hand so you stay hydrated
  • Pack hand sanitiser or wipes to keep your hands clean

Keeping safe while beach combing

If you’re wandering along the beach below the cliffs in search of fossils, you need to take care. Coastal erosion causes the cliffs face to loosen and it’s very common for stones to fall from the unstable rock. You don’t want to be standing in the way when they do!

You also need to be very aware of the tide times. The water comes in fast than you might think! Make sure you head back to the town long before the tide is due to be fully in. That way, you avoid any risk of getting trapped by the sea.

Let us know what you find

If you’ve found some exciting things while you’ve been beach combing in Whitby and along the Yorkshire coast, let us know! Tweet us pictures of your finds, we’d love to see them.

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