Saturdays are often days dedicated to ‘catching up’ – with the housework, emails and all the other things that can get squeezed out of the week – but this week I decided to head down to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site to take part in a ‘Brunch and Belemnites’ walk I’d seen advertised on twitter.
I booked a youth hostel for the night and made an early start from Birmingham. On arrival, Pauline at Highway Farm plied us with tea and excellent bacon sandwiches, followed by a short introductory talk by Jurassic Coast Ambassador Geoff Rowland. Geoff was brilliant – a local volunteer with a love of fossils and the incredible geology of the Jurassic Coast – he managed to convey the geological history of the area covering several million years in a way that complete novices like myself could understand and engage with. I hadn’t realised just how good the talk was until we were out on the walk, where I started spotting for myself the clear differences in the rocks as we walked along the coast.
Following the talk we headed out from Highway Farm to walk up to Thornecombe Beacon and then along the coast path to West Bay (about 3 miles). From the beacon Geoff pointed out that looking west we were looking back, geologically, 200 million years! Along the walk he also pointed out where to hunt for fossils after storms as well as highlighting the care that needs to be taken under the cliffs. From the cliff tops we were treated to incredible panoramic views and, when the path descended to beach level, we were able to look at the rock layers up close.
We finished up with coffee in West Bay before catching the bus back to Highway Farm, where Pauline was waiting with more tea and cake. All in all a fab day, and such a privilege to benefit from Geoff’s knowledge and enthusiasm as well as take in some incredible views.
World Hertiage PhD Student at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage