Since 2007 I have been employed on a seasonal basis as a fossil warden for the beaches of Lyme Regis and Charmouth, in order to give advice to keen amateur fossil hunters on the safest way to collect fossils. This is achieved by patrolling the beaches and giving people who are actively digging, hammering or climbing in or on the cliffs some advice, and to point out the dangers of this site. I often give 5-10 minute mini fossil walks along the beach showing people some of the better places to find fossils. I have found that this non-confrontational approach is very much appreciated and often results in happy children and parents who go away with a few prized specimens rather than a bucket of rocks.
As well as the dangers of the cliffs, people are often unaware of the dangers of the sea and tides. On a rising tide I make an effort to advise people, so that they are on a safe part of the beach and not liable to be cut off by the rising tide.
I have always felt that it is important to talk to people, not only about the dangers but generally about any issues they may have and to that end I am only too happy to answer any questions or more commonly try and identify fossils they have found.
Stuart’s Jurassic Coast hotspot
My favourite part of the Jurassic Coast would have to be the Fleet Lagoon with its feast of wildlife throughout the year, from wintering geese and other waders to skylarks and myriads of butterflies during the summer, every season has something different to offer, it’s a truly wonderful place to either sit in contemplation or just walk with the dog.