Learn about fossil hunting and the Jurassic Coast at the Charmouth Coast Heritage Centre.
Charmouth Coast Heritage Centre is situated just moments from Charmouth’s acclaimed beach. The centre houses an impressive display of fossils and gives visitors an insight into the geology of the Jurassic Coast. Information boards explain each of the geological periods and give a brief overview of the work of Mary Anning, an early fossil hunter.
Interactive displays and a video microscope are available for visitors to use. Little ones can get hands on with a number of children’s activities, including the sandpit where they can uncover their own fossils. There is also a short film in the ‘Jurassic Theatre’, which gives practical advise on fossil hunting and the history of the museum. Please note there is a small fee for this facility.
The highlight of many peoples visit to the Coast Heritage Centre, is the Ichthyosaur, which starred in David Attenborough’s BBC documentary ‘the sea dragon’. Find out more about this impressive creature and the great lengths the team went to excavate it from the cliffs.
The museum also focuses on the marine life that inhabits the waters of Lyme Bay and has a small aquarium, which showcases the colourful creatures you can find in the rock pools at low water.
Guided fossil hunting walks
There are a dedicated team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteer staff who run guided fossil hunting walks and rock pooling rambles, to help encourage sustainable and safe fossil hunting practice. These two hour trips begin with an informative presentation, which tells you what you should be looking out for.
The small on site shop sells rocks and fossils as well as fossil hunting equipment, which can be used as you explore the nearby beach.
Admission is free however visitors can leave a small donation to help the charitable trust maintain the displays. Adjacent to the museum you will find a cafe serving up a range of tasty treats throughout the year. There is a pay and display car park nearby.