The hidden gem beach perfect for a fossil hunt - and it's less than half an hour from Hull

The East Yorkshire coast is blessed with beautiful beaches, but few are as intriguing as Mappleton.

Not only is it a bit of a hidden gem, usually far less busy than the big tourists beaches, but it also boasts a "hidden" cove and a chance to find fossils.

Popular with dog-walkers and fishing enthusiasts, it is located at the bottom of a high cliff and has a decent sand and shingle beach, even at high tide. Here's everything you need to know about Mappleton beach and why you should visit.


Where is it? Mappleton is on the B1242 and is less than a half-hour's drive from Hull. Located around three miles south of Hornsea, it's considerably more low-key than its better-known neighbour. There is a free car park, though it fills up quickly in the season, toilets and a tearoom. A wide track runs down from the car park to the shore.

What is the beach like? There are sand and shingle beaches on either side of huge rock spit, made up of large boulders, which juts out into the sea. It was constructed in the early 90s to improve sea defences. At times, these boulders hide manmade rock pools. Because of the way the sea defences are formed, they also hide a hidden, manmade "cove" to the right of the rocky outcrop.

Can I take the dogs? Yes, dogs are not banned during the summer season in Mappleton, unlike on the major beaches in Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea.

Can I swim there? Mappleton is not a designated bathing site and there are no lifeguards, so while paddling is fine, it is probably best not to swim unless you are very experienced.

Will I find fossils? Mappleton is a popular spot for fossil-hunters. In 2020, a 21-year-old fossil hunter came across the find of a lifetime. Scott Taylor discovered a huge ammonite that he believed could be around 180 million years old. "I just turned around and I saw it from about 20ft away," he said. "I just couldn’t believe how big it was. It was one of those moments that don’t happen often."

Scott said rainy days are often best for fossil hunting: “After you get a big storm and there’s a lot of rain and the wind is in a certain direction it strips all the sand away," he added. “The clay gets revealed underneath and so the rocks and fossils start washing out and they all pile up on the beach.”

I've heard there are bombs on the beach? Mappleton beach is next to the old Cowden MoD bombing range, although the chances of finding an unexploded shell are rare. In 2021, the MoD asked contractors to clear unexploded devices from the beach. In the past, some bombs have fallen on to the beach due to coastal erosion. Members of the public have previously been advised to avoid approaching or picking up any suspicious-looking objects.

The beach at Mappleton is great for playing, paddling and fossil hunting.
The beach at Mappleton is great for playing, paddling and fossil hunting.

What do people say about Mappleton? The beach is rated 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor. One reviewer wrote: "Spent Saturday morning fossil hunting along the coastline and had a lovely lunch at the Old Post Office tearooms, a great little place to visit".

Another said: "This is the best beach we have been to in this area. Miles and miles of beautiful sand. Completely flat and just perfect for a long walk with our dog. Would recommend without hesitation."