Tracks Through Time 2010
Dinosaur tracks on the South Wales coast.
As well as the superb ammonite and fossil beds at Lavernock and Southerndown, the South Wales coast is home to the oldest disosaur tracks in Britain. These can be found at a tiny bay between Barry and Sully. To get there, head for the industrial estate by Bendrick Rock, beside the entrance to the Barry docks.
- The western end of Sully Bay. On the right is the breakwater of Barry Docks, and in the middle is Bendrick Rock. The best tracks are in a little bay to the left, which has a concrete slipway for launching boats.
- Barry docks lighthouse with the Barry Island peninsula behind it.
- Bendrick Rock.
- The rock is separated from the bay by the powerful Cadoxton River, without any convenient way to cross it.
- The tracks show up in the sandstone beds that make up the small cliffs; members of the Mercia Mudstone Group. These originated as floodplains during the Triassic's Norian stage, roughly 204-217 million years ago. The tracks of several dinosaurs can be seen in various different beds, indicating that this area was used for a long time by wandering dinosaurs.
- The majority of tracks can be seen on this slab in the small bay. It may not look like much until you realise what to look for. The tracks are poorly defined, and are most easily identified when the rock is drying; the wet dimples are either dinosaur tracks or just dimples.
- The most impressive tracks are those of an unknown theropod dinosaur. These are nominally called Anchisauripus Sillimani, though the actual species is not known.
- It is possible that the Anchisauripus is in fact better known by another name from its fossil skeleton, but it is not known which skeletons would have produced which tracks. Perhaps it is really a coelophysis, who knows?
- Anchisauripus tracks, showing different sized animals.
- Large and small.
- Clear prints.
- The largest track, apparently still a therapod dinosaur, but much too large to be a coelophysis.
- There are a few tracks that belong to a prosauopod - like a sauropod, but walking mostly on its hind legs. These tracks are poorly defined, and can be seen on the upper benches above the little bay's slabs.
- Walking towards the cliffs.
- Dogfish egg.
- Sea slaters, marine woodlice.
- The largest woodlouse. This one is about as large as they get, about 3 cm long.
- Geodes in the sandstone.
- Petrified ripples in the ancient sand.
- Sheds in the run-down industrial estate.
- Bunkers and chimneys.
- Old windmill.
- Silos and chimneys at the power station.