United Kingdom amateur fossil hunters

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Welcome to the world of fossils

Meet the UKAFH team


Craig Chapman, Central and East of England leader

As the founder of UKAFH I am very proud of all we have achieved in such a short amount of time. We've become one of the biggest amateur fossil groups in the country! Now we've teamed up with UKGE things can only get better and better.

It's still hard to believe people come to me for advice about fossils. Five years ago, I wouldn't have known a great deal. Everything I know has been self taught and through experience out in the field. It's a fascinating hobby and my vision for the future is to make fossil hunting an accessible and enjoyable hobby for everyone. I am looking forward to seeing you all at some of our up and coming fossil hunts.

Steve holding a ammonite from Portland

Steve Snowball, Deputy Head and South of England leader.

My interest in fossils began from about the age of seven and it's turned out to be an interest, (along with playing guitar!) that has stayed with me for most of my life. As a teacher training student, the Jurassic Coast of Dorset was right on my doorstep. It's still my favourite spot and I'm fortunate to now be living back there, after working in Sussex for over 30 years. The Dorset coastline and scenery are stunning! As a recently retired headteacher, I joined UKAFH as a mere hobby group but here I am, involved to both help run the organisation and lead field trips for others. It's great fun and UKAFH hunts are very family friendly and highly recommended! 

Aidan Philpott,  Central and East of England leader

Fossil mad. I have been since my grandparents hid fossils in their back garden for me to find at the age of 7.

Since then I have traveled all over the UK and abroad in search of prehistory.

I love the hunt, the adventure of it all!! UKAFH is great because it allows the as adventure to be shared with other fossil lunatics - and has exposed me to so many new localities across the UK.

Sam Caethoven, Central and East of England leader
As a little kid my dad used to take me and my brother out to look for fossils and minerals.  Then we grew up and it just seemed to stop - for about 30 years. Then I learned of the Jurassic coast and how easy it was to find ammonites and took myself off on a long weekend of beautiful Dorset and Devon countryside and seaside and a couple of organised fossil walks.  The sense of wellbeing and simple happiness of it all took me back the next year.  Then I tried fossil hunting on my own once or twice and, poking around on the internet to find out more about locations, what to do and what to look for, I found UKAFH.  I'm really enjoying being a member; the great information and advice, well organised, fun fossil walks with lots of different like-minded people and getting outdoors.  I've had some nice finds too and am learning a lot along the way.
Look forward to seeing you all soon.

Eliott Mills, Central and East of England leader

Hi my names Eliott I have been collecting fossil for on and off since I was about 7 years old. 
I'm now 35,but a lot more seriously for the last 3 years whenever I get chance I'm usually getting my hands dirty and would like to show and help people with finding fossils. 
I really find fossil hunting a very steep learning curve but I like that a lot lol Can't wait to meet some like minded people along my journey

Chris Tait: South of England leader.

Like many, I caught the fossil bug quite early on having been taken to Lyme Regis by my Grandma as a 7 year old and my interest in ancient life has grown along with me.

In 2008 I took the plunge and went back to university (Portsmouth) and in 2011 I graduated in Palaeobiology and Evolution. During this, I had field trips in Spain, Wales and Germany as well as numerous trips to Barton, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

I began a PhD investigating some new Coelacanth remains from Kimmeridge bay in Dorset, and despite learning lots, personal circumstances prevented me from completing those studies. Since then I have twice travelled to Morocco to search for dinosaurs and buy a few fossils. I am a total fossil nerd and love nothing more than a good hunt for ancient treasure!

I am delighted to join UKAFH and very much look forward to meeting some like-minded people, having some fun whilst learning a bit and finding some cool fossils. :D

Dan SlidelSouth of England leader.

Like most geologists my fascination with rocks started early on, from a young age I could normally be found looking for new and interesting rocks. This led to academic studies in geology at A-level and on to Royal Holloway, University of London where I gained my MSci.

During my studies at Royal Holloway I participated in many different field trips, ranging from the volcanic systems of Tenerife, the wet and windy slopes of the Scotish Highlands to my six week mapping project in the Italian Alps. I also joined CASP as a field assistant, collecting geological data, in the Canadian High Arctic Islands on a summer trip. This trip focused on understanding the geological evolution of the Franklinian and Sverdrup basins and involved collecting many geological samples and fossils.

From my studies at Royal Holloway I went on to join Neftex in 2011 as part of a team working on the regional geology of the Arctic. I worked as a Geoscientist on the North American Arctic, Eastern Former Soviet Union regions, with a focus on the Western Eurasia region. With a particular interest in the geology and evolution of the Barents Sea. Landmark Software and Services, a Halliburton business line, acquired Neftex in June 2014. Shortly before this I joined the Play Analysis team and presently work as a Geoscientist with a focus on collating and utilising Field, Lead and Play information.

With more than ten years of experience in geology, five of which spent as a professional geologist, I am very much looking forward to working with you, running hunts and sharing in the excitement of learning about our geological history. Hope to see you soon!

Lizzie Hingley, South West of England leader

I found my first fossils as a child by looking through the gravel in my Grandparents’ driveway. Summer holidays from a young age often involved looking for fossils in different locations in the UK. I found my first Ichthyosaur jaw section on Monmouth beach when I was 10, The Jurassic coast quickly became one of my favourite places to be. I am now very lucky, spending almost every other week in Charmouth hunting for fossils (weather permitting!) I am currently learning fossil preparation. I'm a relatively new member of UKAFH, it is a great organisation I can't wait to get more involved!
Kellie and Euan support leaders

Kellie VernonNorth of England leader

I am Kellie and my passion for dinosaurs began pretty much as soon as my son Euan was born – they are his greatest obsession and I have had to continually learn to keep pace!

We have both been involved with UKAFH for a number of years and go on as many hunts as possible. Of course I have my own paleontologist for company! 

Outside of my two jobs I am also as PhD student studying the Scott Expedition to the South Pole in 1910-13 ( and yes- they found the first fossils there in 1912!) I am hoping to help with some hunts here in the North West and look forward to seeing you !

Terry Newsome,  North of England leader

My interest in fossils began when I was at college – my palaeontology tutor was bonkers and some of that has rubbed off on me: I’m bonkers about fossils. I love the feeling of finding a little treasure amongst the dirt; it’s like finding a diamond in the rough. My favourite spot is Lyme Regis and Charmouth – I love a good bleak, wintry coastline and a good ammonite! When I’m not working or fossiling, I can be found out and about with my camera, or trying to get the dog off something he shouldn’t be touching. I’m very excited to be a part of the team and look forward to meeting members of the UKAFH community. See you at the beach!

Andrew Eaves, North West leader

I've bee a rock head for many more years than I'm prepared to share. I'm married with a 25 year old jazz singing daughter. I wanted an evolutionary biologist, but you can't have everything.

My collecting interests are: Lancashire crinoids, Kentish sharks' teeth and Lancashire Coal Measure plants. I'm a bit of a maniac, when it comes to British Classic Fossils, however, and so can be found on chalk beaches, the North East coast of Yorkshire and anywhere else where I might find something.

Other interests are: Napoleonic re-enacting, late 80s/early90s Indie music, collecting Victorian Palaeontological books and setting up as close a facsimile, as I can, to Darwin's study in Down House.

My wife clearly has a lot to put up with.

I'm an incredibly experienced( old) primary school teacher and run sessions up at Manchester University for the PGCE students. I also do talks on various subjects, well Napoleon and fossils, for local societies.

Thank you for your kind attention, Andrew

Katherine Combe, North of England leader

As a child, I have a memory of the Mount St Helens eruption, this started my obsession with everything volcanic, which then turned into a love of everything geological after completing an A ‘level in Geology in 2003. Having completed a Global Hazard Geology Degree at the University of Derby in 2008, and then starting a MSC in Earth Science at the Open University in 2014, the passion for geology never wavered. I have a fulltime job as a nurse which I find rewarding and enjoyable, but my heart is shared with geology, I have an extensive collection of fossils and rocks of all types and from world- wide locations. From an early age I have included my children in fossil hunting within the UK and recently involved my mother and I now have change to inspire others and help find, collect and preserved the best of the fossils within the UK. 

Simon Parkes, North of England leader

I started collecting fossil in June 1971.
I will always be indebted to my mother who encouraged me and the curators of the Brighton Museum
and The Booth Museum for the role they played in making learning so much fun.
I found my first sea urchin, a flint internal mould of echinocorys from the marsupites zone in the back garden, and on showing it to my mother with the question "is this a fossil sea urchin ?"  I was met with the reply " it most certainly is, lets take it and you to the museum!"
And so between 1971 and 1973 I would pass my fossil and archaeological finds (stone age implements) to these professionals and they would in turn pass on to what was then Brighton Polytechnic to be studied/identified by the under graduates. After the students had hands on with my material it went back to the museum to see if they had correctly identified the items, then came back to me. In return I got a free pass at the museums and shown the hidden items that are not normally on show. Not bad for an 11 year old ! Had either adult acted in a disinterested way it could have curtailed what is my life's passion, and taught me the importance of valuing other peoples requirements and beliefs - particularly young people. My Grandfather who was a retired British Diplomat introduced me to some American palaeontologists who also took the time to share information with me. Here I learnt about the " bone wars" of Marsh and Cope, and gained access to some iconic locations - in the early years I collected extensively from Southerham Grey chalk pit in Lewes in Sussex, and im grateful to Blue Circle Cement who went out of they way to accompany an 11 year old boy around the pit and dynamiting in productive strata and then letting me go straight in before the diggers !
Between 1994 and 1998 I held a voluntary post with The Natural History Museum as an Auxiliary lecturer; my role to conduct students from
schools and universities around the Earth Galleries delivering teaching points and running workshops. Sadly the funding was cut and I had to leave the post.
I will always be grateful to Angela Milner who was my bosses boss and with whom I got on well, and for the effort to ensure my daughter did her two weeks work placement at the NHM and often had to be dragged away from the basements and all the wonderful " in storage" items  that captivated my daughters attention!
From 1998 until 2010 I ran fossil workshops for local schools entirely on a voluntary basis, taking classes and staff on fossil hunts to safe locations and running workshops. Then that miserable thing called work rather got in the way of my enjoyment and I had to stop!
I am delighted to be back playing a positive role, and always mindful of the support and commitment I was shown as a child in order
to encourage me in the subject, if I can do the same for others then I have achieved one of my life's goals.
Lee-anne collins UKAFH leader

Lee-anne Collins, West of England and Wales leader

I've been fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistoric life from a young age and when I saw Jurassic Park at the age of 9 it cemented my interest for life.  I love reading about new finds and species, and when I took an Open University course on the subject of fossils and prehistoric life it really opened my eyes to all the exciting kinds of fossils there for the finding!  That course was where I met Craig and so my affiliation with UKAFH begins!
In "real life" I work in IT - I even owe that to Jurassic Park believe it or not - Lex became my hero at age 9 - and now at 30 she still is!
I am looking forward to meeting more like-minded people, expanding my knowledge, and perhaps even finding some cool fossils of my own, especially at my local site of Aust, just down the road from me.
Happy Hunting!

Andrew BaylissWest of England and Wales leader

From an early age I was interested in fossils and Dinosaurs, my interest was renewed when I moved to Faringdon, Oxfordshire. The reason being that I kept finding pieces of fossil sponge in my garden, what I did not know was that Faringdon is famous the world over for its fossils. Being close to Wicklesham Quarry many a Saturday I could be found head down trying to find more fossils for my ever growing collection.  My best find was a Plesiosaur Vert which was found on top of a small spoil heap, still my best find to date.

My aim is to bring the joy of finding fossils to more people, favorite place besides Wicklesham Quarry is Seatown in Dorset and there is a nice pub right next to the beach.

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