Woman Killed by Rock Fall at Popular Fossil Hunting Location

Fatal Accident at Llantwit Major (South Wales)

A twenty-four year old woman has been killed after a rock fell on her at Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan (South Wales).  The accident happened yesterday evening and emergency services were called to this popular walking and fossil hunting location just before 5.30pm. A spokesperson for the Welsh ambulance service stated that they had received a report of an incident where a rock from the cliffs had fallen on a person’s head.  Unfortunately, the impact proved fatal and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.  The cliffs are extremely dangerous and there are numerous signs posted up along the beach warning visitors of the potential hazards.

Very Dangerous Cliffs along the Welsh Coast

Rock falls are a constant hazard.

Rock falls are a constant hazard.

Picture Credit: UK Fossils Network

Each year, the beautiful beaches to be found in this part of south Wales attract thousands of visitors, many of whom are keen to explore the area looking for fossils.  There are a lot of different types of fossil to be found, including giant Gastropods and numerous bivalves.  Occasionally, vertebrate fossils can be discovered, fish scales and teeth as well as isolated bones from marine reptiles.  The blue lias rocks date from the Early Jurassic and they are approximately 200 million years old.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is very sad news.  We will soon be at the height of the holiday season with thousands of tourists flocking to locations such as the Vale of Glamorgan, Ravenscar and the Dorset coast.  However, many of the cliffs at these places which are so popular with tourists, are extremely dangerous.  Rock falls and land slips are very common around the Lyme Regis and Charmouth areas for example and we urge all visitors to heed the warning signs and to stay away from cliffs.”

 Back in 2012, Everything Dinosaur reported on a fatal accident that took place at Hive Beach (near Bridport, Dorset), this latest terrible incident demonstrates that care and precaution must be taken at all times and visitors to locations such as Llantwit Major are urged to stay clear of the cliffs.

If you are looking for fossils, Everything Dinosaur advises that visitors limit their searches to the rocks along the foreshore and the shales exposed on the beach away from the cliffs.  Fossils are being constantly eroded onto the beach and there are always plenty of specimens to find.

Our team members are happy to provide advice and guidance to fossil hunters, in addition, we wrote an article a few years ago now that provided hints and safety tips for fossil hunters.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s tips on safe fossil collecting: Fossil Collecting Code – Safety Tips

The accident occurred just a few miles to the west of Lavernock Point, it was at Lavernock Point that the fossilised remains of an Early Jurassic meat-eating dinosaur were discovered in 2014.   These fossils have just been put on display at the National Museum of Wales.  This exceptional fossil find might persuade more people to visit these sites along the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel, whilst fossil hunting can be a wonderful hobby, all the team members at Everything Dinosaur strongly urge that visitors take great care and that they do not approach the cliffs. No fossil collecting should be attempted from the cliffs themselves or any adjacent scree slopes.

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