Waterloo Bay

If you have an interest in fossils and prehistory, this is a great place to visit and search for fossils amongst the Jurassic rocks. Waterloo Bay is an area of foreshore in Larne on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, where important exposures of Triassic and Jurassic rocks can be found.

If you have an interest in fossils and prehistory, Waterloo Bay along the Larne Promenade shoreline is a great place to visit and search for fossils amongst the Jurassic rocks.

Waterloo Bay is an area of foreshore in Larne on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland, where important exposures of Triassic and Jurassic rocks can be found. It is of particular interest to geologists because it provides a clear, complete and accessible example of the sequences from the Upper Triassic to Lower Jurassic when the rock types changed from land to marine. Waterloo Bay was designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest for its geological importance in 1995.

In 1999, an ichthyosaur, also popularly known as the ‘Larne Sea Dragon,’ or ‘Minnis Monster,’ was found in the Langport Member strata by Brian McGee. Remains were found of the backbone and rib cage, scattered pieces of the front limbs, the lower jaw, and several teeth; the most complete fossil of its kind in Northern Ireland! These were uncovered by fossil preparator Andy Cowap and put on display in the Ulster Museum.

Waterloo Bay is a stone pebble beach. There are information points located nearby on the footpath which tell you more about the area and its importance. You can often find ammonites and belemnites, fossilised sea creatures and shells in the rocks along the beach. Gryphaea are particularly common and can be found loose on the foreshore. Collecting should be limited to loose fossils and fossils in loose blocks as the bedrock and cliffs are protected by SSSI and cannot be removed or disturbed.

Above the bay is Chaine Park, a lovely spot to sit and watch the waves or have an adventure. You can also walk along Larne Promenade from here towards Chaine Memorial Tower, or upwards towards the Town Park where a large play area is situated.

Larne Promenade is a public right of way and easily accessible. Waterloo Bay has steep steps down to the stony shore and can be slippery along the sea front.

There is a wide variety of wildlife that can be spotted from the shore, particularly birds, and if you’re lucky seals and dolphins at times splash in the waves along the bay.

How to get here:

– Waterloo Bay is just outside of Larne. Follow the A2 Glenarm Road northwards and you will soon pass a petrol station on the left. Just beyond, on the right hand side, are the gates for the Town Park. Approximately 200 yards beyond the gates, on the right, is the entrance to a car park.

– Access to the beach is by a sloped and stepped paved path which leads from the far end of the car park towards the sea. Where the path forks at the T-junction, take the left hand branch northwards down towards the bandstand then continue past the bandstand until you reach a short path on the right with steps down to the promenade and seafront. You Can walk around and down from the car park, to an entrance to the right and down along the promenade again avoiding the steps, however, there are steps down onto the shoreline itself from the promenade.

– There is a new toilet block situated nearby the carpark, with an accessible toilet also.

Photograph’s by Gavin Ferguson, Colum Mackle, Bill Guiller  & Billy McWilliams

Gallery

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