Educational Days Out: Fossil Hunting at Wren's Nest Nature Reserve

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

One of the inevitable subjects you will probably cover in your homeschool diary is fossils. If you haven't even thought about fossils you should. Finding fossils is great fun and very educational, especially if you find the right place to do it.

We recently visited Wren's Nest Nature Reserve in Dudley in the West Midlands, the heart of the Black Country. It's an amazing nature reserve and the first in the UK. A geologist's dream. Once beneath the Silurian Sea some 428 million years ago, the nature reserve is now home to huge limestone hills and rocks and of course, a gold mine of fossils.

The first thing you need to do is know what you're looking for. The Wren's Nest Nature Reserve has some great resources on its website. Not only do they give you the history of the area, formerly quarried for limestone, they also provide a map pinpointing the best areas to find fossils, handy tips on what to look for and where, and images of fossils to help you identify the ones you find.

I must admit, I had never been on a fossil hunt before, and after the first ten minutes of looking, I started to think their claim that there was "plenty to go around", was a bit of an exaggeration. But then luckily, my youngest son got right down on his hands and knees and found what looked like a tiny seashell. As soon as he found that, we all stopped hunting amongst the large rocks and got down amongst the loose material on the ground, just like the website suggested we should. After that, we found lots of fossils!

We loaded up our pockets with fossils to take home, clean off and identify, but not before taking a walk around the 100-acre Nature Reserve. It's worth taking a picnic and exploring as much of it as you can. There are plenty of paths including a wildlife route, lots of trees for the children to climb, and the rock faces with the ripples that were once carved by the Silurian Sea, are something to behold.

Wren's Hill Road



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