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.
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.
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
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.
The active landslides of Black Ven and Stonebarrow readily release fossils onto the beach. Visit the Centre and see the superb display of local finds then join a fossil hunting walk to discover your own.
Welcome to the Dorset County Museum, where the story of Dorset's rich landscape unfolds in a range of fascinating displays. The Museum was founded in 1846 to help protect and record the county's unique historical and natural environment.
There is a wealth of information on the rich marine life at Kimmeridge Bay and the surrounding Purbeck Voluntary Marine Nature Reserve. The centre also offers 'Snorkelling for softies' and a live underwater camera.
Dramatically contorted layers of hard and soft rock eroded by the sea to create spectacular features, contrast with a sheltered cove. Have a look at the displays in the Centre which tell the story of Lulworth as the first rocks formed, to the landscape and village you see today.
A range of Lyme Regis' famous fossils can be seen in the geological galleries. You can also take a journey through the local history of Lyme and discover the fascinating life of fossil hunter, Mary Anning, whose fossil collecting began the study of geology.
Seaton Jurassic is the new exciting visitor attraction for East Devon that will tell the uniquely powerful story of the geology and marine ecology of the Jurassic Coast, England's first Natural World Heritage Site. Opening summer 2015.
The Fine Foundation Centre run by Beer Village Heritage is situated on the left at the bottom of Sea Hill, Beer and tells the stories of the village of Beer and its place along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Encounter the colossal Chesil Beach which protects the fragile habitats of the Fleet Lagoon behind. Learn more about the formation of this great barrier beach and the rich wildlife and history associated with it.
Wareham Museum's geology display makes the connection between the Wytch Farm oil field and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site which is the same rock sequence but tilted on its side and exposed by the sea.
A new book that takes a quirky look at the Jurassic Coast has been published in time for Christmas – and it’s already proving to be a big hit. The Jurassic Coast – A Mighty Tale is published by The Jurassic Coast Trust and is written and illustrated by local artist Tim Britton.
Are you a Primary Teacher and need more help to effectively teach Rocks, Fossils and Evolution in your science curriculum? Then come and join us for a FREE training day led by Primary education consultant David Weatherly. Our special Big Jurassic Classroom Superteachers will also be on hand to take you through their own resources they have developed for the new Primary Science curriculum.
This two hour session starts up at the Centre with a 20 minute talk from the Centre Warden about the fossils of Charmouth and how to find fossils on the beach. The group then heads out onto the beach with the wardens and spend the rest of the session looking for fossils.