As a boy, Filey is one of those towns we visited a lot. Sometimes we’d just get in the car after my parents finished at work, and go there for a summer evening. In my head it basically consists of a fish and chip shop, a lifeboat station, and a memorial garden with caged birds.
Filey Brigg is taken to refer to the whole peninsula, but the brigg itself is a spit of rock sticking out from the headland about 500 metres into the sea. The word brigg is from Norse and means a jetty or quay, probably a reference to the historic use of the tidal rocks.
Amongst those rocks are a number carrying these unusual markings:
This is something called thalassinoides, a type of fossil. It’s actually the track left behind by burrowing animals in ancient sands under the sea, in this case from the late Jurassic (around 160 million years ago). Each burrow is 2-3cm across.
The burrow was probably made by something like a crayfish or shrimp, burrowing into the sediment as it searched for food.
The way the fossil is seen here is as a cast, where mud and other sediment has filled in the burrow. The surrounding rock is a little less robust, weathers away more quickly, leaving these natural casts.
For some reason I didn’t actually take a photo down the brigg to show it. But there was a little life to be found, including Redshanks, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Common Tern, Oystercatcher, and gannets out to sea.
There was actually a dead gannet there, presumably washed in from the sea, which I photographed but won’t share here.
I’ve often seen common seals off the brigg, sometimes watching me with as much interest as I watch the, but not today.
There are many fine rockpools along the brigg, and as long as you are careful it’s a great spot to introduce children to this particularly British experience. There were plenty there on this day looking for fish, crabs, and starfish.
We then hiked up the side of the brigg (Carr Naze). There is actually the remains of a Roman signal fort there, but we didn’t have a look. Also, escaping the dominance of the gannets, a small colony of kittiwakes on the North side of the brigg.
An obliging little Tree Pipit posed for a while on the drying Cow Parsley.
That was that for Filey. Except we wandered back down into the town, saw the caged birds, and had our fish and chips. Because even 30 years on, there are some things you have to do!