Author: Penny Jones

Lulworth Fossil Forest will be reopen to the public from Saturday 21st March 2020. Take the opportunity to rediscover the 145 million-year-old ‘forest’ – a key part of the Jurassic Coast’s walk-through-time story.

Closed after a big rockfall in 2015, the forest has 97 new steps and railings on a route that leads off the South West Coast Path, as well as a new seating and interpretation area with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast. The rockfall also left a dangerous overhang which has now been partially removed and netted by geo-technical experts with the addition of a catch-fence.

Although no actual trees can be seen, round shapes known as ‘algal burrs’ are clearly visible; these would have surrounded the base of the tree trunks. It is thought that Victorian collectors may have removed the trees for decorative purposes, but no-one is really sure!

This globally important site is located to the east of Lulworth Cove, within the Lulworth Ranges. As with the rest of the Ranges, the Fossil Forest is open most weekends and school holidays but always check before visiting.

James Weld Lulworth Estate said; “We are delighted the Fossil Forest is accessible once again and were pleased to work closely with all parties involved, to ensure the visitor experience will be of great value, both as an educational tool and as somewhere to visit on this unique and stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

The work was funded in the main by the Coastal Communities Fund, with additional funding from Lulworth Estate, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (part of the MOD), the Arts Development Company, the Geological Association and Dorset Council.  Albion Stone kindly donated two large pieces of fossilised wood for the seating area, Bournemouth Christchurch Poole Council who donated the recycled timber decking and local architect Aileen Shackell Landscape Design.

The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team led on the Fossil Forest project in partnership with Lulworth Estate, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, The Arts Development Company, Dorset Coast Forum and the Jurassic Coast Trust.

*Please follow all official health advice regarding the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The advice is changing regularly and rapidly, so please check NHS and websites before you set out. Please note, to see the Fossil Forest, there are 97 steps down – and back up!

Dorset Coastal Connections – People and Places

The project is part of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio of 18 projects along the Dorset Coast which aims to support and boost the economies of Dorset’s coastal areas. The portfolio is being funded by a grant from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and partner organisations and is coordinated by Dorset Coast Forum.



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