Finding a massive septarian nodule

Field Visits Programme 2023: 

We enjoy between six and a dozen field visits each year.  Most of our visits are to sites within Essex itself, but from time to time we also organise visits to Kent, Suffolk and even further afield. Usually, our visits involve a small group of us – between 6 and 20, lead by a member of the Society. We take members’ safety very seriously, so please read the safety notices, below.

So why come on an ERMS field visit, when you could just go to the beach and look for fossils by yourself?

    • Some of our field visits are to places which are barred to the general public (e.g. working quarries). Without being part of an ERMS official visit, you will not be allowed in.

    • Even if you visit the beach etc on your own, you will not have access to the level of expertise that ERMS members collectively have. But on an ERMS field visit, if you find something interesting, you can get an expert opinion straight away.

    • Its fun to take part in these visits with other, like-minded, people!

Please Note: participants must book a place with the Field Visits Secretary,


Sutton Knoll

Important information, advice and safety notes for field visits 

All geological sites are potentially dangerous. Members and guests (‘participants’) are reminded that they attend field visits at their own risk, and that they have a duty of care for their own safety and that of others.

Liability. Neither the Society nor any of its members shall accept any liability whatsoever for any accident or injury to any persons or damage to or loss of property incurred by any persons arising from its activities except in so far as the Society can be held to have been negligent. Except in the case of working quarries (see below), persons under 18 years of age are welcome to attend certain field visits provided that they are accompanied by an adult: please check beforehand.

Participants are responsible for their own personal accident insurance cover and also insurance for their own personal effects used in connection with the Society’s activities.

Participants are recommended to bring their own first aid kit on field visits.

Participants must wear suitable field-work clothing. This includes waterproofs and appropriate footwear and safety goggles. A hard hat is required for visits in the proximity of cliff and scarp sections.  Access to working quarries will be permitted only if strong boots, a hard hat and a fluorescent jacket or tabard are worn. Goggles or other eye protection may be required. Except where otherwise stated we regret that persons under the age of 18 years are not permitted in working quarries.

All participants shall follow any reasonable instructions and heed any warnings given by the leader. The leader must be informed if any participant needs to leave the group before the end of the visit. The leader’s attention must be drawn to any participant who is in distress or who is parted from the group.

Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements and are responsible for locating each field visit meeting point, following location instructions, verbal or otherwise, from the leader.

Recommended field equipment. It is useful to have a notebook, pencil & paper, tissues or newspaper, collecting bags & pots, and a marker pen. Tools, such as a trowel and sieve, may be useful at certain locations: please enquire for advice. We recommend that participants also bring sun protection, a packed lunch plus sufficient drink.

New members are urged to record information about their finds, especially where and when they were found (identification can always be done later).