Fossil Hunting in Dorset

Beach Safety & Fossil Hunting

We pride ourselves on the stunning Jurassic Coastline that towers along the West Dorset coast. However it must be understood that these historical cliffs are prone to cracking which can then lead to rock falls.

In many respects the rock falls have made the coastline the attractive feature that is admired by so many tourists to this day.

Please take care when walking under or near the cliffs and read the various warning signs which are situated at key locations. Keep away from recent falls and if your children are looking for fossils please remember the danger of further falls, soft ground and the tide. When walking along the cliff top please stay on the designated footpaths and stay clear of the edges and cracks. Beaches that are included in the Jurassic coast are Burton Bradstock, Charmouth, Eype, Seatown and West Bay however there is still much fun to be had on the beaches without stopping under the cliffs.

We would like to also make our guests aware that the sea does have a very strong current. There can be sudden steep drops especially near the shoreline. Tides can change very quickly along with the weather conditions. Inflatables must be used with care and children must be supervised at all times. Please treat all the beaches with respect and you will have a very enjoyable time.

Many of the beaches along the Jurassic coast are not supervised by lifeguards and if an incident should occur please call 999 and ask for the emergency services, which includes the coastguard and ambulance.

For more information and the latest beach safety updates please see how to stay safe on the Jurassic Coast.

Fossil Hunting

The beaches around Charmouth and Lyme Regis are among the best in the world for fossil hunting. The geology and erosion here means that there is a regular supply of fossils, particularly after a storm. It is easy to be cut off by the incoming tide here so care must be taken. Fossils can be plentiful in these areas, but it still takes practice and patience to find them. Organised fossil walks are the best and safest way to find fossils and they are very informative and educational. The best tools to find fossils are a sharp pair of eyes. Hammers are not essential and please only collect loose material from the beach rather than breaking off parts of the cliff.

Be sure to follow the Fossil Collector’s Code of Conduct:

  1. Collecting from beach material is acceptable practice
  2. Digging in the cliffs is not an acceptable practice
  3. Do not over collect – leave some for others to find

If you find a rare or special fossil, please register it at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. All that is involved is taking a photographic record, brief information and the finder’s details. The fossil is still yours to take home but it helps to record valuable information about the fossil finds from the coast.

Some of the best fossils on display locally, can be found at Lyme Regis Museum, Dinosaurland or Dorchester County Museum.