Highlight: Fossil Forest

The Fossil Forest
The Fossil Forest. Photo: Copyright Ben Osborne

As the Jurassic period drew to a close sea levels were falling. Shallow tropical seas gave way to coastal plains and for a brief period around 145 million years ago a forest grew here. The evidence for this is exposed to the east of Lulworth Cove on a rocky ledge known as the Fossil Forest.

Flowering plants had yet to evolve, so this forest was dominated by conifers, tree-ferns and cycads. When a lagoon rose to swamp the forest the trees died and were encased in limestone by sticky mats of algae. The strange rounded shapes this created are known as ‘algal burrs’. The broken trunks of trees are sometimes found preserved but none remain at the Fossil Forest site. They were probably all collected by Victorian visitors over 100 years ago. However, there are still plenty of algal burrs to see and they are amongst the strangest fossils on the Jurassic Coast.


The Fossil Forest has been closed for public safety following a small cliff collapse, which has dropped material directly across the path leading down to the site. Work is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2018 making the site accessible once more.

For further information please email diosee-epsescaccess@mod.uk.

The Coast Path is unaffected and you can still walk this section.

If you visit the Fossil Forest please not to try and collect any of the algal burrs or other fossils as the site is sensitive to damage.