Natural England - Pett Level (SSSI)

Pett Level (SSSI)

Location and Access Information
Grid Reference: TQ 872112

Iron staining in loose block of Wealden sandstone

Iron staining in loose block of Wealden sandstone

This cliff section is located between Hastings and Cliff End. Car parking is available at either end of the site and the cliff can be accessed via the beach.

Geological interest

This 6km section of eroding seacliffs provides one of the finest exposures of Lower Cretaceous, Wealden sediments in Britain. The section is continuous from the basal Ashdown Sand to the lower Wadhurst Clay and shows sediments deposited by rivers that crossed an extensive coastal plain some 140 million years ago. Fossil plant material, including the remains of upstanding plants in growth positions, occur throughout the sequence and suggest that the climate at the time was warm, semi-arid and possibly monsoonal. Animal fossils, entirely non-marine, include insects, molluscs, fish and reptiles. Crocodiles, turtles, and pterosaurs have been found here, but the site is best known for the remains of dinosaurs that occur here, including Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Cetiosaurus.

On the foreshore at Cliff End, the peaty remains of a much younger submerged forest can be seen. This forest grew below the cliffs at Pett some 6000 years ago at a time when sea level was about 30 m lower than today. A rise in sea level gradually flooded the forest the remains of which can be seen at low tide.