The World Heritage Coast in Dorset stretches for about 95 miles, and a visit
to this stunning coastline takes visitors back in time 185 million years.
so-called 'Jurassic Coast' is a fossil hunters' paradise.
class coastal area|
This Jurassic coast is a nature lovers'
paradise with rich pickings for fossil hunters. If lucky, you could be the first
person to touch your unearthed fossil for 185 million years!
one of the most famous Jurassic locations in the world, renowned for its cliffs
which are rich in fossils.
are largely found on the foreshore and at the base of scree slopes and slippages.
Most of the fossils are sea creatures and shellfish which date from a period
when the coast was surrounded by a warm tropical sea.
One of the best places
to search is on the beach below Black Ven, between Charmouth and Lyme Regis.
out for dark patches of sand together with worn lumps of fool's gold, as these
are the places where fossils such as ammonites, belemnites, shells and bones can
The wardens at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre are a good source
of advice, and also organise fossil hunting walks.
Another great place to
find fossils is Monmouth Beach near Lyme Regis where it is possible to occasionally
find huge ammonites lying on the beach.
These are too large to remove,
so why not take some photographs and collect the specimens on film.
detectives should check tide times carefully and take care as the sea can cut
off some locations.
of the best and safest ways to see the Jurassic Coast is by boat.
the many coastal features to be seen is the Golden Cap, the highest point of the
Jurassic coast, with its distinctive sandstone summit.
site is Black Ven, the largest coastal mudslide in Europe, which happened only
50 years ago and provides new habitats for plants to move into.
many fabulous geological features including the most perfectly formed cove in
the world at Lulworth.
The Fossil Forest, located a mile or so from the
cove, is the most complete record of a Jurassic forest in the world with 'tufa'
or fossilised rings of algae that gathered around tree trunks when the forest
flooded nearly 150 million years ago.
At nearby Durdle Door, there are yet
more interesting geological features and plant habitats.
The Dorset coast is especially rich in plant life due to
its hot, dry and salty environment.
The area is home to the rare Sea Lavender,
found only on rocky coastal regions - its thick, rubbery leaves protect it from
The cliff tops have never been ploughed or sprayed with modern
fertilisers so they provide a very rich habitat for plants.
many wild flowers are Hedge and Lady's Bedstraw (so named because it was once
used in mattresses), Flea Bay, and Kidney Vetch.
The diversity of flowers
attract a wide range of butterflies and moths especially at Bindon Hill where
32 different species can be found.
Look out for butterflies including the
Adonis Blue, the Small Blue, the Dark Green Fritillary and the rare Lulworth Skipper.