On my way home from a few days in Devon, I decided to go across to Dorset and have a mooch along the beach at Charmouth! There have been a few storms along the south coast which have caused some cliff falls – perfect for looking among the scree for fossils!
|The cliffs at Charmouth, heading (and looking) east from the car park.|
The fossils in this part of the coast are mainly ammonites from the Jurassic, though you can also find crinoids and fish. I spent about an hour and a half walking along the beach before I settled on a pile of flat pieces of shale – a pile that had obviously been created by someone using a hammer to break pieces, but clearly abandoned due to lack of finds. Within about 30 seconds I had found ten fossil impressions! One mans trash etc.!
I kept picking up pieces and turning them over, pocketing any good finds. A lady came over to have a look and I told her I’d found loads, and then I helped her daughters find some. I also left a few for other people to find.
In 2014 the Geological Society of London released a crochet pattern to make a mini Mary Anning - so I just had to take her with me to Charmouth!
|Mini Mary Anning with her geological hammer and basket for her curios - ready for a geomooch!|
The cliffs here are dangerous – I saw evidence of multiple mud flows and cliff collapse, and climbing these cliffs on the hunt for fossils is a stupid idea. Most of the fossils are found on the shore, in the piles of shale at the base of mud flows, or in the pebble area. This site is a SSSI so hammering the cliffs is a no-no, but using a hammer to break pebbles or bits of shale is fine.
Be sure to check the tide times before you visit! The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is also a good first port of call – for advice re fossil hunting, hammer hire, and tide times.
All pics belong to me and were taken by me. Links open in new windows.