Living on close to the Jurassic Coast, we often enjoy a trip to the beach in search of fossils.
Back in 2020, we attended a fossil hunting walk with the Charmouth Heritage Centre, which gave us more of an idea of what to look for.
Whilst we really enjoyed it, we wanted a more personal experience and upon a recommendation from a paleontologist we met at the Dinosaur sleepover, we booked a guided fossil walk in Charmouth with the Wobbly Fossiler.
We arrived just as the tide was starting to head out to give us maximum time exploring on the beach, and James started by explaining how the Jurassic Coast was formed, with a really easy to follow explanation and some examples of what we might find on the beach.
The rocks on the Jurassic Coast contain records 185 million years of history and due to cliff erosion, fossil deposits can still be found in large numbers on the beaches of the Charmouth and Lyme Regis especially, including ichthyosaurs, giant marine reptiles, bones from dinosaurs, intricate crinoids and ammonites.
It was soon time to head to the beach. There has been a large rock fall to the east of the Heritage Centre in the last week, but as it is still very unstable, we headed west towards Lyme Regis.
It was a slow start, as we learned what sort of rocks to look for and split, but once we found our first fossil, we starting spotting more and more.
Although all of the beach is good for fossils, we found that certain sections were good for ammonites, others better for belemites.
Eliza wants to be a paleontologist when she is older, so I was expecting her to ask lots of questions and James was happy to share all his knowledge. He was also brilliant with Sebby, who came away bouncing with excitement and full of knowledge.
In fact, Sebby got the find of the day – an ichthyosaur vertebrae!!
Eliza’s mission was to find a coprolite (dinosaur poo) and we were disappointed not to find one on the walk to Lyme Regis, but thankfully on the way back, we found not one, but two!!
We spent a good four hours with James and came home with an impressive haul of fossils, which includes ammonites, belemites, fossilised wood and crinoids.
If you are not able to book a guided walk, I highly recommend visiting the Charmouth Heritage Centre, right by the beach, who can show you what to look for on the beach.
The centre has been extended and improved since our last visit and there are lots of fossil finds on display, including a reconstruction of Sir David Attenborough’s Sea Dragon.
If you are serious about learning how to successfully hunt for fossils, I highly recommend booking a guided walk with The Wobbly Fossiler as he makes fossil hunting fun and accessible for all ages.
If you plan on booking a fossil hunt, I also highly recommend watching Attenborough and the Great Sea Dragon before you visit.
Have you been fossil hunting before?