Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Charmouth Heritage Coast CentreContact details

Name: Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre

Address: Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth, Dorset, DT6 6LL

 

Phone / Fax: 01297 560772

Website: http://www.charmouth.org/chcc/

How this location makes the Jurassic Coast a World Heritage Site:

The active landslides of Black Ven and Stonebarrow readily release fossils onto the beach.

The rocks that make up the cliffs at Charmouth are rich in fossils of animals that swam in the Jurassic seas. The coast erodes rapidly resulting in thousands of fossils being fed onto the beaches from the landslides in the surrounding cliffs, especially after winter storms. The remains that have been found here since the eighteenth century represent one of the richest slices of life in Jurassic times anywhere in the world.

How this Centre showcases the geology and associated local stories:

Visit the Centre and see the superb display of local finds then join a fossil hunting walk to discover your own. 

Warning: Always follow the fossil collecting code

Through interactive computers, hands on displays and lots of information on fossils, fossil hunting and the local coastal and marine wildlife. There is even a video microscope that you can use to examine your finds. You will always find a helpful warden or volunteer who can identify your finds for you.

The Centre has a Jurassic Theatre, where for a small charge (adults £1.50, children 75p) you can watch a short film on 'Finding fossils at Charmouth' or 'Black Ven; life on the edge'. And we also have a small shop stocked with books of all levels, including some of our own publications, toys and souvenirs.

Throughout the year they run guided fossil hunting expeditions, rockpooling walks, plus countryside and marine discovery activities along the local coastline.

View GigaPan of Fossil collecting at Charmouth Beach

Fossil collecting at Charmouth Beach

This gigapan was taken of the beach near Charmouth during the winter.
During rough weather fossils are washed from the soft clay and mudrock and they can be found between the pebbles and stones by anyone with a sharp eye. Some have already been identified to help you. See if you can find any more.

To go fossil hunting for real at Charmouth contact the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre www.charmouth.org

Snapshots

Working left to right through the snapshots.

1: This small fragment of ammonite is preserved in something caled 'beef rock', which is a type of stone made up of calcite crystals. The shell of the ammonite has been disolved away and all that is left is an imprint.

2: This is called a belemnite, they are often confused for teeth. It is a fossil of the bullet shaped internal shell from a creature similar to a squid.

3: A small fragment of belemnite. It is a fossil of the bullet shaped internal shell from a creature similar to a squid.

4: This fossil ammonite is still embedded in some mudstone. Only the Shiny outer part of the spiral shell is showing.

5: Ammonites are common fossils at Charmouth. They are related to squid and octopus and would have had lots of tentacles, but all we find of them is their beautiful spiral shell.

6: A poorly preserved fossil ammonite.

7: Ammonites are preserved in different ways. This one is brown because it is made of rusty Iron Pyrites or 'fools gold'.

8: Another poorly preserved ammonite.

9: This ammonite is preserved in something called 'beef rock', which is a type of stone made up of calcite crystals. The shell of the ammonite has been dissolved away and all that is left is an imprint.

10: A fossil ammonite.

A fossil collecting code operates in this area.

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