|Lyme Regis Fossils|
- Lyme Regis is nicknamed The Fossil Town
- It's the most commercial fossil town in the UK
- Lucky fossil hunters can find bone fragments from ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs
- Massive natural erosion in the area is constantly exposing new crops of fossils
- Lyme Regis museum is on the site of the house where Mary Anning was born
Expert palaeontologists and curious visitors made up the crowds in Lyme Regis for the town's first Fossil Festival on April 8th and 9th.
In a joint initiative between the town's Development Trust and the Natural History Museum in London, a series of exhibitions, walks, talks and fun events were laid on to make the most of Lyme's unique position as the home of fossil hunting.
|One of the exhibits at the Fossil Fest|
Experts from the Natural History Museum were on hand to identify visitors' fossil finds as well as hosting games and experiments to explain more about the hidden secrets of the Jurassic Coast.
Dr Jackie Skipper from the museum told BBC Dorset: "The key idea is that science is something you can pick up, it's not big and frightening - it's about finding something on the beach that is 200 million years old - that is so fantastic!"
For organiser Fred Humphry, it marked the culmination of several weeks of hard work: "Lyme Regis is one of the centres of fossil hunting and we've got local fossilists and specialists showing off their finds - if you can't have a palaeontology or geology question answered here, you won't have it answered anywhere!"
|Mary Anning (Miriam Cooper)|
There were even a couple of Mary Annings entertaining the crowds at the festival - she was the first fossil hunter, known as the "Princess of Palaeontology". Born in 1799, she lived in Lyme Regis her whole life, spending her time searching the cliffs and shores of the local coastline for evidence of dinosaurs. She found the first plesiosaur and the first flying reptile.
The project won funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the organisers are hopeful of making it a regular event.