Report by: Chris Cole and Alan Morton

West Beach, Selsey, 1st March 2010. (Low Tide 0.0m at 1740 hrs, Sunset 1744 hrs)

The barometer was rising at 982 mb. There was a light North Westerly wind and the temperature was about 6c. The sky was clear and the light was good.

This was my first proper visit to West Beach Selsey in 2010. I visited briefly yesterday and although the predicted low tide was 0.2m, the tide did not go out very far. Yesterday there was limited patchy exposure of clay mainly at the East end of the beach. I found just 4 sharks teeth near the top of the beach in S7i. There were quite a few pyritized gastropods.

The tide today (1st March) receded much further as expected and I estimated that the low point was about 30m beyond the old flag post base. The nodule line was not visible except at its eastern end. The vertebrate finds were few and far between. I found just 2 sharks teeth (biggest 40mm) and some small Myliobatis fragments. There was significantly more clay exposed (see photos).This was predominantly S7i although there was also about 20mē patch of S9 (Brook Bed) exposed. This contained several fragile but complete specimens of the large turrid Crenaturricula attenuata and a rich assortment of other gastropods.

Despite the amount of exposed clay, the vertebrate finds were disappointing (Just 2 today), although the mollusc collectors had better luck.

Just as a reminder for anyone who is familiar with this Medmerry site, the Environment Agency intend to have a managed retreat of the Sea Defences by allowing the sea to breach for approximately 100m and Eastwards from the sluice gate. The RSPB now own a significant area of land behind the Sea defence in the Medmerry area. The sacrifice of this piece of Sea Defence is to enable further creation of wetlands for bird life due to European Union targets to replace wetlands destroyed in other parts of the UK. (Southampton). To date there have been no satisfactory answers relating to the likely loss of this important Geological SSSI.

West Beach, Selsey, looking West from near the Club House.

West Beach Selsey, looking East from near the Club House.


Bracklesham and West Beach, Selsey, 2nd March 2010. (Low Tide 0.0m at 1822 hrs , Sunset 1745 hrs)

The barometer was steady at 982 mb. There was a light South Easterly wind and the temperature was about 4c. The sky was clear and the light was good.

I visited Bracklesham first to take advantage of the second consecutive exceptional spring tide. The sandy part of the beach had rippled sand. There was very little shell debris on the beach and the top sand felt quite soft to walk on. I only found three very small teeth before opting to re-visit West Beach Selsey for the second day

Both sites have failed to live up to expectations when matched with the lowness of the tides. I re-visited West Beach to take a look at the Brook Bed exposure (S9). By the time the tide had receded enough, the light was poor. I have attached a photo below to help with the location of this fossil bed. The actual location is about 50m from the concrete sea defence which sits between sea defences fronted with rusty metal shuttering. There is also an end of groyne post tilting at 45 degrees towards the east of this fossil bed.

This area of beach is only normally visible on good spring tides and is often covered in sand.