Stretching from East Devon’s Orcombe Point all the way to the spectacular sea stacks known as Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast really is a ‘walk through time’. You'll find similar fossils at both; Charmouth is a bigger beach (and has the fossil centre) but less collectors at Seatown, or walk from one to another along the shore and get the bus back (set off 2 hours before low tide). © Paul Carter - paulcarter-photographer.co.uk & Fairlynch Museum, Important information for visitors to the Jurassic Coast during COVID-19, Top Romantic Locations on the Jurassic Coast, Top Romantic Cottages on the Jurassic Coast, Jurassic Coast Teachers’ Primary School Resources, Fossils from the Jurassic Coast in the Fossil Finder, The Geological History of the Jurassic Coast, Jurassic Coast Fossils Book - for Sale in our Shop. Take some small bags or tubs to carry any fossils you find. As these cliffs collapse into the sea and the waves wash against them, fossils are dragged out onto the beaches. All you really need is a keen pair of eyes and an appetite for adventure, however, a pocket-sized fossil guidebook could prove a handy little addition, as would an old toothbrush (for brushing away mud and debris) and a magnifying glass. Valley of the Rocks 5. Thirdly, and finally, you might cause a landslip and become a fossil yourself. You could also invest in our official guide to Fossils of the Jurassic Coast. The museum houses the remarkable collection of one…. If you are serious about wanting to find super cool fossils, the best time to go fossil hunting in Lyme Regis is during the rainy, stormy, super-terrible-weather-y time of year. Also, one of the best places to go fossil hunting within the Jurassic Coast is Charmouth Beach. The Jurassic Coast extends from Exmouth in Devon all the way to Studland Bay in Dorset. It can take months to learn how to find fossils that are inside rocks. Most fossils get washed from the cliffs or are displaced by natural erosion and landslips, so the best and safest place to search is along the beach amongst the loose shingle. Croyde 1… Fossils can come from almost anywhere along the Jurassic Coast, but they are mostly quite hard to find and in some places fossil collecting is not allowed without permission. Fossils can come from almost anywhere along the Jurassic Coast, but they are mostly quite hard to find and in some places fossil collecting is not allowed without permission. There’s nothing prehistoric about our gorgeous holiday cottages in Charmouth and Lyme Regis. Generally it is best to walk up to 400 metres on the beach to find the best areas. Click here to have a look at the different types of fossils you might find. It stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, a distance of about 96 miles (154 km), and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in mid-December 2001.. To start you off, check out the selection of fossils below. On the Yorkshire coast rocks from the Jurassic period are exposed for all to see, in a series of spectacular cliffs and bays. Our top, number one, most important and crucial tip of all is… go out with a guide! Ammonite fossils can often be found laying on the beach after stormy tides, the beach being easily accessible from the car park. Firstly, it’s strictly forbidden in protected areas and sites of special scientific interest to hammer away willy-nilly at ancient rock formations. If it does, great but be prepared to drive if you really want an in-depth exploration of the area. Llantwit Major is one of the best locations, where you can find giant gastropods. Some of the treasures you could find are millions of years old. There is one very famous layer of limestone on the Jurassic Coast where fossil trees are found. The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre (pictured) and Lyme Regis Museum run regular guided fossil hunting walks throughout the year. Photo © Lyme Regis Museum/Matt Austin. Please note that it is forbidden to hammer the cliffs as our coastline is part of The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. You are, of course, allowed to take a photo of your fossil, and if it’s something particularly unusual, make a note of your location and contact the local heritage centre, museum or finds officer. The large shingle beach and…, The historic seaside town of Lyme Regis nestles in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the point where the rugged West Dorset and East…, The Etches Collection – Museum of Jurassic Marine Life opened in the village of Kimmeridge in October 2016. The more time spent searching the more chance of finding something. They are the shells of extinct animals related to squid and octopus. This part of the Jurassic coastline erodes rapidly, resulting in fossils falling from landslides in the surrounding cliffs onto the beaches. If you’re fossil hunting in a protected area you’re not allowed to remove your finds. Secondly, you’re more likely to destroy the fossils than find them. The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. Here are our suggestions for anyone wanting to give fossil hunting a try on the Jurassic Coast. Some of the UK’s most significant finds have been unearthed by amateur fossil hunters or stumbled upon by dog walkers and beachcombers…you may recall our blog earlier in the year about the startling discovery made by Archie Faiers on a beach near Lyme Regis. Fossil collecting can be an exciting activity to try – who doesn’t want to find their own piece of Earth’s history? Far from it. Part of this work involves employing a Fossil Warden to speak to people along the coast’s most popular fossil beaches during busy periods of the year. We call it the Fossil Forest. These amazing cliffs continue to help some of the world’s most pioneering palaeontologists and geologists in their quest for answers, preserving magnificent fossils in their prehistoric layers and allowing us to travel millions of years back to the past. Now the Jurassic Coast stretches 95 miles from Devon to Dorset, so it’s huge! For any beginner, the beaches between Charmouth and Lyme Regis are the best and safest place to try fossil hunting. It is also extremely dangerous to climb or attempt to walk on the cliffs or mud flows. When you are planning a fossil hunt, always check the tides. In fact, ammonites are the most common find in … Fossil hunting in Charmouth and Lyme regis. Unless you plan to make fossil hunting a regular hobby, taking a hammer is a waste of time. The south coast has the same formations as those on the Somerset coast, but with less competition from other collectors. You don’t need a PhD or a carry case full of the latest field equipment to find fossils. Always be aware of the tide movements: the ideal time to go fossil hunting is on … Ammonites graveyard at monmouth beach (visit at low tide!!). The best time to find fossils on the beaches is after a winter storm. Lyme Regis is often the first place that people head to when they learn that the Jurassic Coast is packed full of fossils, and Church cliffs are the town’s best spot for exposed rock. This is because it is apparently better for fossil hunting as it tends to be quieter stretch of the Jurassic Coast. That’s a terrible idea. As a result Portland Museum has one of the most important collections of … Dorset is also quieter in the colder months, meaning that you can really get stuck in to looking for different ancient relics without having to fight for space. Successful fossil hunters are patient and always prepare before they head out. Fossils are the remnants or traces of an organism of a past geologic age, such as a skeleton or leaf imprint, embedded and preserved in the earth’s crust. The area is well suited to amateur and experienced fossil hunters alike – throughout the year visitors flock in their masses to scour the beach for fossils washed out of … Iron pyrites or ‘fool’s gold’ ammonites are a famous Charmouth fossil and are more easily found after a storm. During the mid Cretaceous period movements under the earths crust uplifted the seabed and it then became exposed and formed the cliffs along this stretch of coastline. These are often found loose on the beach around Charmouth and Lyme Regis. Avoid fresh rockfalls, mudflows and landslides. From Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast offers 95 miles of of outstanding Earth science that families can explore on foot and by car. So the safest place to search is along the beach amongst the loose shingle. Staithes, Runswick, Robin Hood’s Bay, Boggle Hole and Saltburn are all good spots to go hunting fossils. Collection of belemnite fossils from the Jurassic Coast. The best time to go fossil hunting is during calmer weather on the outgoing tide. Fossil Ores Petrified Logs Amber Ore Fossilized Nests Fossilized Track-ways Ice Shard Ore The attractive seaside village of Charmouth lies in the heart of Jurassic Coast fossil hunting country. If you do choose to use a hammer always wear eye protection. They can be found on almost any pebbly beach along the Jurassic Coast… but they are very hard to spot and are the rarest of the fossils shown here. Our current Fossil Warden is Stuart Godman, who covers the coast between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, armed with a pocketful of fossils and years of collecting experience. Along the Jurassic Coast, the best place to find fossils is loose on the beach where the sea has already done the hard work of separating them from surrounding rocks. These are nice complete examples. Absolutely not. The scattered backbones of Ichthyosaurs, a type of giant marine reptile, are relatively common around Charmouth and Lyme Regis, but you still have to be pretty lucky to find one. If you are trying fossil hunting for the first time it can be daunting. The Jurassic Coast is famous for its fossils. How to find fossils in rocks. Hopes Nose 8. Cliff falls and landslides can happen without warning so stay away from all cliffs and remember to check tide tables to avoid getting cut off by a rising sea. Posted by amyralph on 31st August 2018. A falling tide is the safest and best time to spend time on the beach. Beer Head 6. A great place to start would be to sign up for a guided fossil hunt where you’ll have the opportunity to learn from the experts and hone your skills. Reader Favorites from Life in a Breakdown In this video we show you the best way to find fossils in rocks. Fossil collecting near Lyme Regis. Winter is by far the best season to try fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast – the beaches are quieter and the fossils are more plentiful. Here’s the good news – many fossils simply lie exposed amongst the beach pebbles, just waiting to be spotted. Most fossils get washed from the cliffs or are displaced by natural erosion and landslips, so the best and safest place to search is along the beach amongst the loose shingle. RAMM – Exeter, Sidmouth Museum, Lyme Regis Museum, Bridport Museum, Portland Museum, Etches Collection Museum – Kimmeridge, Durlston Castle. But not every beach is safe, and not all fossils should be collected.”. The cliffs around this coast are the remains of a Jurassic seafloor that was teeming with life 190 million years ago. We tend to visit Charmouth which is the town next to Lyme Regis. With so many collectors scouring the beach, ammonites and other popular fossils get snapped up quickly, encouraging many regulars to seek out new and overlooked types of fossils, such as insects and fish, many of which turn out to be new to science. It may be the best place to find fossils in Dorset. Many fossil sea shells look just like the modern shells you might find on the beach. Our top tip? Sign up below to receive our free quarterly e‑newsletter, and information about upcoming events, volunteering opportunities and campaigns. …be patient. Share it with your friends! The soft rocks and clay of the Jurassic Coast on the south coast of England release a steady stream of fossils onto the beach with each new high tide or winter storm. Don’t forget – wear the right clothes for the weather, especially if it’s cold. “Fossils are eroded from the cliffs of the World Heritage Site and tumble onto the beaches where anyone can discover them. The growing number of visitors to the Jurassic Coast has led to some healthy competition. Fossil hunting is a brilliant family-friendly activity and can be really exciting, especially if one of you makes a discovery of prehistoric proportions. The beach and cliffs are part of the Jurassic Coast (World Heritage Site), which encompass 95 miles of coast between Dorset and Devon. There are lots of organised trips which start at the visitors centre where you can learn the best tips and techniques for finding fossils whilst staying safe near the cliffs. The cliffs at Charmouth and Lyme Regis used to be a sea bed during the Jurassic Period. Sidmouth 2. Jurassic Coast.org explain that “the rough weather helps expose more fossils” in winter, making it the perfect time to search for fossils by the seaside. Belemnites are the internal hard parts of a squid-like animal. A guided fossil hunt is easily the best way to build confidence and learn from an experienced collector. © 2021 - Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Partnership | Registered Charity 1101134 | Mountfield, Rax Lane, Bridport DT6 3JP. Remember they change daily! ‘I’m not going to Charmouth or Lyme Regis… what do I do?’ – there are plenty of opportunities to see fantastic fossils, even if you’re not in a good place to give fossil hunting a go. Hopefully however the below information will help you find a few more fossils or at least be of interest to you. It is considered to be possibly the most successful place to find fossils along Lyme Bay's Jurassic Coastline. holiday cottages in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and the New Forest. This is because the storms and downpours unearth new areas of the cliffs that haven’t been unearthed before…and with this comes mudslides and fossils! For any beginner, the beaches between Charmouth and Lyme Regis are the best and safest place to try fossil hunting. The Jurassic Coast Trust works to promote responsible fossil collecting across the World Heritage Site. Along popular fossil hunting beaches, such as those below the clifftops around Charmouth and Lyme Regis, you are most likely to find ammonites and belemnites which are types of prehistoric mollusc and descendants of mussels, clams and snails; the kinds of species that we still see today. Stuart speaks to around 2,000 people per year, encouraging them to search for fossils responsibly and safely. They are lots of different types of fossils sea shell found along the Jurassic Coast, including relatives of oysters, clams and scallops. Don’t forget!… whilst you look for fossils you should also be looking out for dangers. Why not have a search through our extensive listings and see what you can dig up. Seaton Jurassicis also nearby and I highly recommend a visit here if you are interested in Jurassic Coast fossils. Just to the west of Seatown is … Fossil sea shell. (Tommy Trenchard) What makes the Jurassic Coast such a great location for finding fossils? Always be aware of the tide movements: the ideal time to go fossil hunting is on the ebbing/outgoing tide and during calm weather. Hold your horses! Did you like this article? It will take you through the magnificent story of the Site’s world-class palaeontology, with all profit from the book helping to protect the World Heritage Status of this special coastline. Charmouth Beach, a little further east, and Monmouth Beach, west of … There are fossils all along the Jurassic Coast. This is due to rough weather causing more erosion. This has been an amazing summer, and I think records must have been broken for people visiting the Jurassic Coast. Hooken Cliff 4. Lee Bay 3. Take a hammer for cracking open some stones. The Jurassic Coast Trust Fossil Finder provides lots more information on the Jurassic Coast fossils found around Charmouth and Lyme Regis. If you want to go fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast, Charmouth is the place to head. More often they are found broken into segments. Seaton beach is a stone beach and is a great place to start fossil hunting. Stuart Godman, Jurassic Coast Fossil Warden. One of the best beaches to find fossils is at Charmouth in Dorset. The two best spots for fossil hunting are supposed to be Charmouth and Lyme Regis. It is exposed on the cliffs near Lulworth Cove but was also quarried on Portland in the past. Most fossils are found on the beach due to natural erosion or get washed from the cliffs. Fremington 7. Fossils appear on both the East and West beaches at Charmouth. Visit Lulworth Cove and the nearby fossil forest, the most complete fossil record of a Jurassic forest in the world Hang out with the swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery at Chesil Beach Ride a steam train and visit the ruins of Corfe Castle Enjoy the colours of the quaint beach huts lining the shore along most of the beaches We went fossil hunting on East Cliff beach, which is east of the town of Lyme Regis. The coastguard is called out every single year for people getting stuck or cut off by the tide. Dorset is home to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and is by far the most popular area in the UK for collecting fossils. This one from Charmouth is a bit like a cockle. Learn more about the important role erosion plays for the World Heritage Site. Fossil hunting often involves moving slowly along the shore, so it can be hard to stay warm. Fossils are found not just on the coast but in the town, encased in museum collections and available to look at and buy in shops, and there are plenty of guided walks organised throughout the year by specialists. Lyme Regis is the fossil capital, with plenty of fossil shops, museums and guided tours, and even the lampposts are sculptured into ammonites. Pinhay Bay 9. These fossil sea urchins are preserved by a very hard rock called flint. The Jurassic and Triassic sites offer the chance to find ammonites, belemnites and brachiopods, as well as reptiles, and shark and fish remains. Finding Fossils on the Jurassic Coast. If you see Stuart whilst you’re out on the coast, do pop over and say hi, and don’t be afraid to ask him for fossil hunting tips! You may find yourself near to a different beach in Devon so here are other locations good for fossil collecting 1. © Sam Rose. Why not visit one of the following museums or visitor centres? Fossil hunting is mostly about luck. 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