We have lived in Dorset for seven years and every now and then we visit the coast. West Bay, Charmouth, Lyme Regis etc., I know it’s the Jurassic Coast but have never given it that much thought. A couple of weekends ago some friends from Essex came to visit and Helen, booked for she and I to go on a fossil walk on Charmouth Beach. We ended up as a group of five, two others from Weston Super Mare and the lovely Victoria who led the walk. We all met on the footbridge leading to the beach from the carpark. Several people had a problem with paying at the parking machine but I was able to use the app on my phone. Honestly, you can do anything with an app on your phone these days. It’s convenient but slightly worrying. Apps are definitely taking over. . . but that should be another blog post. Back to Charmouth.
Vic (as she liked to be called) gave us a short talk about the Jurassic coast. She gave us two booklets and the following paragraph is an extract from one of them.
It is one of the world’s great natural wonders. It extends for 95 miles along the Dorset and East Devon coast and offers a unique “Walk Through Time” starting at Orcombe Point near Exmouth and continuing to Studland Bay in east Dorset, it is the only place on earth where you can walk through three distinctive geological eras. It captures the remains of the arid deserts of the Triassic, the shallow seas of the Jurassic and the tropical swamps of the Cretaceous. For more information click HERE
Vic giving us the pre-walk talk at a picnic table.
After the talk we picked up our bags and headed down to the beach. There were plenty of other people and dogs on the beach, many of them with their heads down scouring the sand and pebbles for any sign of a fossil. It’s hard to tell at first and several times I picked up a little something thinking I had made the find of the century only to be told it was just a bit of pottery or a few stones stuck together with clay. Very disappointing. But it wasn’t long before one member of our party found a small ammonite and we all cheered even though we were a little jealous!
This was the terrain where we searched for fossils.
Eventually I found two small ammonites and several belemnites. I sound like I know what I’m talking about but honestly? I’m none the wiser really. A couple of hours on the beach is not long enough. I’ll have to go again and maybe take the grandchildren with me. But, they’ll probably find loads and know all about it. . . that’s just how it is with the old and the young 😊
I was pretty pleased with my haul and I came back home full of enthusiasm for more fossil hunting. One of the other party members gave me a rather lovely (and certainly larger) ammonite than the one I found in exchange for a copy of Dear Tosh. I hope he enjoys reading it! Tosh would have loved searching on the beach for fossils. I thought about him a great deal.
My little haul of fossils. The top left is not a fossil but a quartz stone, I rather liked it. You can see the ammonites (the largest I was given) and the belemnites are the little bullet type shape. The ends of tentacles from a squid like animal I believe.
Watch out for a blog post or two over the next few weeks as I’m off to Thailand for a family 50th — not mine but my eldest son. I know, I know I don’t look old enough to have a fifty-year-old son (she says modestly) but when you’ve been amongst the 180+ million year old fossils for a day it does make one feel pretty young and insignificant!
See you from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos…watch this space.
Oh and by the way, Victoria also has an alpaca farm where you can experience a walk with the alpacas and other activities. Click on the link to see more. Little Orchard Alpacas