Monday, 22 February 2016

A Brief Trip to Charmouth

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.

A few of the ammonite impressions I found within one pile of debris. Nothing spectacular and no individual, 3D, pyritised beauties - but fossils nonetheless! I like impressions and trace fossils as they are often overlooked by people who want to find The One. These are perfect for display pieces!

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.