‘World’s oldest fossil forest’ discovered on south coast of England

Scientists have uncovered what they believe to be the world’s oldest fossil forest – dating back 390 million years – in the high sandstone cliffs along the Devon and Somerset coast.

The fossilised trees are palm-like in appearance but would have had thin trunks with hollow centres, researchers say.

Remains were discovered in the Hangman Sandstone Formation near Minehead, close to a Butlin’s holiday camp.

This fossil forest is around four million years older than the previous record holder – found in a sandstone quarry in the town of Cairo in New York State.