The Jurassic Coast Trust are delighted to share a report outlining the findings from the first year of the Jurassic Coast Collection project. The report has been prepared by our Conservation Officer (Palaeontology), Chris Reedman.

World Heritage status is a tremendous accolade. Being inscribed on the World Heritage list is an invitation to transform local heritage into something meaningful for a global community. The Jurassic Coast is well-established as world famous for the wonderful fossil discoveries made here. Its palaeontology is a core part of its status as a World Heritage Site.

Historically the Jurassic Coast is a key locality for the development of palaeontology, and the eroding coastline continues to provide new discoveries and to be an inspiration to future generations of earth, ocean and climate scientists. The geology of the Dorset and East Devon coast provides an unparalleled opportunity to traverse the Mesozoic Era; however, whilst the importance of the palaeontology is well established, demonstrating its role in World Heritage presents certain challenges.

We recognise that more could be done to improve access to important specimens from the Jurassic Coast, and to better emphasise their unique role in the story of the World Heritage Site. The aims of the Jurassic Coast Collection project are to identify a globally important collection of fossils that explicitly demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The creation of such a collection requires collaboration and co-operation between museums, academics, fossil collectors and the Jurassic Coast Trust.

The raw data captured as part of this work will provide a new and important evidence base to energise research and scientific study along with World Heritage Site. It will help identify priority areas for specimen acquisition, promoting further investment and support to expand the collective capacity to conserve and curate the Site’s incredible fossil heritage, whilst encouraging public interest in and recognition of an excellent network of museums and visitor centres.

The report identifies the future aspirations for fossils of the Jurassic Coast and some of the possible next steps, drawn from the strategic work streams of the Jurassic Coast Partnership Plan.

The Jurassic Coast Trust recognises the importance of progressing this work at pace and recently committed to the continuation of the project by permanently appointing Chris Reedman as our Conservation Officer (Palaeontology), whose role it is to develop this work.

The Trust would like to express sincere thanks to all those involved in working alongside our Conservation and Heritage team to enable the development of this report, and for their continued support to progress this work further.

Lucy Culkin

CEO, Jurassic Coast Trust