Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

A hunting we will go….

My sister and her husband are visiting Dorset. Yesterday, we decided to go to Lyme Regis. The weather wasn’t brilliant but at least the day started out dry. Compare this photograph of Lyme yesterday, with the second one of the same harbour in the summer….

The whole coastline in Dorset is a World Heritage site known as the Jurassic Coast. It is a rich hunting ground for fossil hunters and we were no exception we spent quite some time wandering along Monmouth Beach, to the west of the harbour and this is just some of what we found…it is ammonite central. Some of these are several feet across. (click images to enlarge)

The fossils are washed out of the cliffs which border the beach and which are composed of Blue Lias which are layers of limestone interspersed with clay. The cliffs are highly unstable and very prone to mudslides – which of course, the fossil hunters love as a mudslide generally deposits new fossils on the beach. The local authorities try in vain to persuade people to stay away from the cliff and in places it is forbidden to chip away at the cliff face. This group of fossil hunters were on an organized hunt so they were well prepared with hard hats (although I’m not sure they would protect you from having a cliff fall on your head…)

As we have had a LOT of rain recently the cliff face was particularly crumbly….and SO tempting.

We didn’t manage to find a pocket sized ammonite or any other fossil to take home but I have decided I am going to go on an organised hunt as I really want to know what I’m looking at. I found a couple of things that looked like they were something but I just wasn’t sure what!

We then moved on to Charmouth which is just along the coast from Lyme Regis and were going to walk to Black Venn – a famous place for fossils (and scene of a spectacular mud slide in 2008)  I found this when I was searching for Black Venn on the internet…


Anyhow, the tide was coming in and the rain was coming down so after a quick explore, we headed back home for a cup of tea. I’m really looking forward to showing my neck of the woods off to my sister  – if the dreadful weather would just improve. Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove next.


30 responses to “A hunting we will go….

  1. Teresa March 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Oh my goodness…let’s just say I wouldn’t be standing quite so close as those people, and I’m sure they weren’t that close to the tree. ;)

    Ok, you answered my question: ammonite. How very cool! My oldest son would love to see those!

    What a difference a season makes at that harbour, eh?

    • Diane March 30, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      I tell you the local police go crazy when the land slips as they try and keep the public away and safe but as there are loads of new fossils exposed, there are people climbing all over the landslip – including families. Nuts!

  2. 25BAR March 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    those pebbles make interesting patterns.

  3. Slamdunk March 29, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    My young son loves to fossil hunt. He would never believe the treasures that you saw there. Great stuff…

  4. bren March 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Great pics. hope that weather improves.

    thanks for sharing!

  5. RennyBA's Terella March 29, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks for taking us with to the coastline in Dorset – indeed a World Heritage site! and so well documented in you’re post with these great photos – and the vid of course; glad I wasn’t under that tree!

    I loved the two comparison pics too – good proof of the seasons difference!

    Talking about rain; there have been some in Oslo, Norway lately too. So the winter and snow are soon wiped out and then spring followed by summer is next. The weather forecast for August is very promising I have heard ;-) so I hope you still wanne meet up with us at the Oslo Blog Gathering!

    • Diane March 30, 2010 at 9:50 pm

      Glad you enjoyed seeing them, Renny, I enjoyed posting about them.

      Yes I would still like to come to Oslo, I’m just making sure of a few dates before I book…my sister and her husband are cruising around the Norwegian Fjords in August so I hope the weather is nice for them :-)

  6. 70steen March 29, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    what a fab place for fossils … fossil hunting is such a delight I have a few collected from my travels around the coast .. so cool :-)

  7. dreamlivedream March 30, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Wow, thanks for sharing those great pics with us!
    Hope the weather clears so you can take your sis around

  8. Lakia March 30, 2010 at 3:42 am

    enjoyed your article

  9. oasis March 30, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Fossils. It’ interesting.

  10. Daddy Papersurfer March 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Our cliffs are a very poor hunting ground for fossils although there are meant to be some. I’ve been reduced to finding very round pebbles on the shingle beaches. Apparently the Romans used to lose their marbles as well.

    I believe that your last photograph is the fossilised foot print of the Ploppisaurus …….

  11. strugglingwriter March 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I love those fossils. Very cool.

    There used to be these slate piles near my house when I was growing up that were littered with fern fossils. They were so common to me that I took them for granted. They aren’t there anymore and I just now realize how cool they were.

  12. Diane March 30, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Wow, that must have been worth seeing. Where did they go, do you know? Do you have any?

    • strugglingwriter March 31, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      I haven’t been able to find any of mine at my parent’s house, so they are probably gone.

      The slate piles were removed when they put in a parking lot for a Teener League baseball field. I played on that field, so I don’t mind it too much. I just wish I would’ve grabbed some rocks first.

  13. Jonathan April 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    We went on holiday to Dorset a few years ago – spent several hours at Charmouth, trying to find some fossils to take home :)

    I read an amazing book while down there – “The Dinosaur Hunters” – all about Mary Anning, Giddeon Mantel, and the havoc that the discovery of dinosaurs caused.

    • Diane April 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm

      I’ve just finished reading ‘Remarkable Creatures’ by Tracey Chevalier which is all about Mary Anning. I must find the book you mention, I’m obsessed with fossils at the moment. Mary Anning was such an amazing woman.

  14. Metal Wall Art May 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I would like to let you know what a joy it is to wake up each morning and read your delightful blog. I always feel as if you are speaking directly to me.

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