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  Dorset coast
  Great Britain

march 2003
Last Modified:
september 2019

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Location description

In Dorset there are many coastal cliffs where sediments from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period are exposed. The sediments consist mainly of alternating clay, limestone and siltstone layers.

In these sediments dinosaurs like

Photo 1 of 14

Ammonite fragment found in Lyme Regis.
Added by: Heijnens on 23-03-2012

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The following coastal sites are worth a visit:

  • Burton Bradstock Close to the gasstation at the mainroad of Burton Bradstock there is a road that leads to the beach. The limestone from the Jurassic period contains many fossil ammonites, and sometimes fish remains.
  • Charmouth The Charmouth beach can be found when you take the "lower sea lane" to the parking. Use the bridge over the river when you go in direction Stonebarrow. Between Black Ven and Stonebarrow you can find various fossils, mainly small ammonites. At Black Ven can collect them directly from the clay layer. Ichthyosaurus bones also have been found here. The fossils are from the Jurassic period.
  • Lyme Regis From the Lyme Regis harbour you can go to the Church Cliffs by walking along the beach in direction Charmouth. On the beach you can sea the large ammonite imprints in the rocks. You best collect fossils at the collapsed parts of the cliffs. You can also collect fossils in the claylayers on the beach. In the clay you can find various bivalves and ammonites. Fossil fishes also have been found here. The fossils are from the Jurassic period.
    To the west you go to Chippel Bay. Go from Charmouth through Lyme Regis. After the centre at the top of the hill, go left in direction 'Monmouth Beach'. From the parking site walk along the beach to the left. You can find Ichthyosaurus bones, and remains of other reptiles on the beach. Brachiopods and ammonites from the Jurassic period are less rare.
  • Osmington Mills From the A353 road you go in direction Osmington Mills. On the beach, walk to the east in direction of Ringstead. Youi can find tracefossils here. In the more solid rocks near Black Head, you can find bivalves, serpulids, sea urchins and ammonites from the Jurassic period.
  • Swanage In Swanage, follow the "beach" signs and park there. On the beach you walk to the east until you get to the high cliffs. In the limestones and sandstones from the Cretaceous period, you can find various fossils.
  • Seatown Take the small road opposite to the "Castle Inn" in Childeock. In Seatown is a parking site. From here you have to choose going to the "Golden Gap", or to "Ridge cliff". You can find belemnites, ammonites, gastropods, bivalves and brachiopods. In the claylayers you can also find fossils from the Jurassic period.
  • Bowleaze Cove The Redcliff cave is accessible from Weymouth. Park at the end of the 'Bowleaze - Coveway'. From there you walk east. Here you can find various fossils like ammonites and bivalves in the Oxford Clay (Jurassic period) on the beach. In the past remains of crocodiles and Ichthyosaurus have been found here. In Bowleaze Cove itself, west of Osmington Mills, the Kimmeridge clay is exposed on the beach. Here you can find ammonites, bivalves and trace fossils.
  • Ringstead / White Nothe The parking is accessible via the Toll road from the A353 to Ringstead (south of Poxwell). Follow the road to the top of the hill and go to the right. At the cliff walk east along the beach. You can find bivalves, brachiopods and ammonites from the Jurassic period in the "Kimmeridge clay" layers on the beach. In the layers above you can find tracefossils and corals. Further towarts White Nothe sediments from the Cretaceous period are exposed. You can find ammonites and sea urchins.
  • Lulworth Cove Easy to find. Just follow the signs. You can see a 'fossil wood' here, but it is only accessible when there are no militairy activities. Various sediments from the Cretaceous period are exposed here, in which you can find a great variety of fossils.
  • Wyke Regis From Weymouth go in direction Portland. Halfway there is a parking at your right with an information centre. You can collect fossils at the east side as well as at the western side. At Ferry bridge claylayers are exposed which contain fossils. You can find bivalves, ammonites and serpulids from the Jurassic period.
  • East Fleet: Walk from the East Fleet Camping site along the Coasst Path to the west. You will have the Fleet on your left hand site. After the football field you will pass the old East Fleet Church to your right. After this, you can turn left unto the beach. There is are steps to go over the fence. 
  • Kimmeridge Park at the Kimmeridge Bay and walk eastwards from there. This is a long walk, so watch the tides! In the "Kimmeridge Clay" you can find ammonites from the Jurassic period.
  • Durlston Bay Accessible via "Durlston Country Park". Here you will find a large parking site. From here, walk down to the beach. In the middle of the Durlston Bay the "mammal bed" is exposed at beach level. In this layer remains of mammals, crocodiles, turtles, and fishes have been found. This grey shale layer sits between two solid limestonelayers and comes from the Jurassic period.
  • Portland The island of Portland has several outcrops of sediments from the Jurassic period. In the northeast and northwest there the Kimmeridge Clay is exposed o the beaches. You can find ammonites, and brachiopods.
  • Eype From the A35 leads a narrow road to Eype, just west of Bridport. From the village walk westwards along the coas
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Ammonites, belemnites, bivalves (oisters), brachiopods, and other fossils from the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods. Sometimes remains of mammals and reptiles are found here.

There are 10 photographs of fossils from this location in our Fossil ID System.
Go to the Dorset coast Species List to identify your own finds!

Literature recommended by members

  • Alan R. Lord and Paul G. Davis, 2002: Fossils from the Lower Lias of the Dorset Coast
    ISBN : 978-1-4443-3774-7\r\n\r\nUitgeverij: The Palaeontological Association
    Added by rebel

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Other locations in the area

Fossil location: Blue Anchor
Fossil location: Devon (Beer Head)
Fossil location: Devon (Budleigh Salterton)
Fossil location: Devon (Pinhay Bay)
Fossil location: Devon (Seaton)
Fossil location: Hampshire (Barton-on-Sea)
Fossil location: Hampshire (Milford-On-Sea)
Fossil location: Kilve
Fossil location: Kimmeridge bay
Fossil location: Quantoxhead
Fossil location: Watchet
Museum: Dinosaurland Fossil Museum
Museum: Lyme Regis Museum


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