One of the most popular activities to undertake along the Jurassic Coast whilst on Dorset cottage holidays is fossil hunting; it has everything from the excitement of exploration and the educational benefits of learning about fossils to the simple delight of seeing the majesty of the coastline surrounding you. There are plenty of spots along the Jurassic Coast which are great for fossil hunting, but some of them yield more finds than others. Here are our top four suggested sites for fossil hunting. These spots have proved themselves time and time again.
1. Church Cliffs at Lyme Regis
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. 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. Ammonites and reptile fossils are plentiful.
2. Black Ven and Stonebarrow at Charmouth
One of the most famous locations in the world for fossil hunting, the foreshore is littered with the fossils of reptiles, fish, ammonites and belemnites. There are plenty of fossils to be found directly on the cliff face, but the sheer amount on the foreshore means that it is more suitable for children and beginners.
3. Burton Bradstock
A favourite with locals who know the Jurassic Coast like the back of their hand, they will wait months for 'Burton to fall' and expose a treasure chest of fossils. Fossils can be collected from rocks lying on the foreshore and on scree slopes after these cliff falls which occur every 2-3 years, exposing ammonite beds which are worth the wait. A more appropriate site for seasoned fossil hunters, it is important to respect the danger of the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast.
4. Lulworth Cove
A popular site to visit for anyone staying in English country cottages in Dorset, it is also very good for finding a wonderful array of molluscs. For sheer beauty, the 'Fossil Forest' can be seen when the tide goes out. Fossils of the Cretaceous period are found at Lulworth Cove, but they are less frequently found than in some other locations. For a break from fossil hunting, walking around the cove itself and exploring nearby Durdle Door is a wonderful way to see how coastal erosion has shaped the landscape.