Report by Chris Cole

SELSEY. WEST BEACH 10th January 2009

The barometer has been above 1025mb for about 2 weeks now and therefore the winds have been very light and generally from the NE. The low tide was 0.7m at 1623 and more or less coincided with sunset. There was significant cloud cover and the temperature was hovering around -1c.

It has been some months since I have been able to visit this site. The first two houses near the clubhouse are all but derelict as a result of failure of sea defences. The Environment Agency has been quite active and the sea defence (shingle) has been shored up. The rock based sea defence in front of the club house appears to have held up well so far. The latest view with regards to the sea defences along this stretch of coastline is that the Environment Agency propose to "Hold the Line" at West Beach but do a "Managed Realignment" at Medmerry.

Having been a resident of Selsey for almost 40 years, I am very familiar with this stretch of coastline. The removal of many of the groynes for Health & Safety reasons has been a poor decision in my opinion resulting in most of the shingle deposited on West Beach and Medmerry, is now at Bracklesham. You can now walk off the hard standing at the Bracklesham car park, straight on to the beach.

Despite the SSSI status (geological) along this stretch there appears to be little intent to protect the area. Requests for information concerning impacts on this important area have been ignored. In my view, the area of "Managed Realignment" will result in a silted up mud flat similar to Pagham Harbour. There is an EU requirement to "create" this mud flat type of environment. Having lost a lot in the Southampton area, the pressure is on.

The site condition at the moment is poor and is basically virtually all covered by sand.

There is an area of soft clay exposed at the top of the beach in front of the clubhouse and stretching each way about 300m East and West from this point. The tide today went out about 15m past the old flag pole base. In my 2 hours on site, I did not find any fossils.

BRACKLESHAM, 11th January 2009 (Low tide 0.5m at 1712)

The barometer is falling and the pressure is currently 1023 and falling. The wind is picking up and now coming from the SSE. The temperature is now 6c and rising. (The warmest it has been for some while. It is overcast and the light not brilliant for fossil hunting.

The beach is covered in shell and gravel debris especially at the car park end. There were quite a few fossil collectors on the beach, including Tim Hobbs from Brighton and my youngest son Wes.

Tim had collected in excess of 100 sharks teeth at the Saturday and Sunday low tides. Notable finds by Tim were 2 multi-bar myliobatis palates and a huge Pristis sp. rostral peg. Wes had found about 50 specimens over the 2 days including a huge Chimaeroid (Rabbit Fish) jaw fragment 75mm long and a nice Tiger Shark tooth (Galeocerdo Latidens). Pictures of the jaw and tiger shark tooth can be seen below.

The jaw was found near the outflow pipe near E4 and the tooth was in the area of E2. Many of the teeth were damaged consistent with the amount of debris dragged down from the top of the beach.

I found a 6 bar myliobatis palate,.a fragment of turtle carapace (puppigerus sp.?) and about a 30mm striatolamia macrota tooth and an overall haul of about 40 sharks teeth.

1. Edaphodon bucklandi (Chimaeroid, Rabbit Fish Jaw 75mm) inner view (Acknowledgement to Wesley Cole)

Edaphodon bucklandi (Chimaeroid, Rabbit Fish Jaw 75mm) outer view (Acknowledgement to Wesley Cole)

3. Galeocerdo Latidens (Tiger shark) tooth- (Acknowledgement to Wesley Cole)

4. A small stingray palate (Myliobatis sp.) Chris Cole

5. A fragment of Turtle carapace (Puppigerus sp.?) Chris Cole

6. Upper jaw Sand Shark tooth 30mm (Striatolamia Macrota) Chris Cole