Do you fancy becoming a prehistoric treasure hunter on your next visit to the Jurassic Coast? Discovering the hidden clues from millions of years ago is a fun and fascinating activity. It is also one of those priceless free things to do in Devon and Dorset.
Grab some fossil hunting gear and read on to find out how you could be making your own discoveries and unearthing some prehistoric wonders. After all, what could be a better souvenir from your stay in one of our Devon Holiday Cottages than a fragment of treasure you found yourself?
There are countless locations in Devon and Dorset to embark on this pastime, such as Lyme Regis, Beer, Charmouth & Seaton - all of which offer plenty of fresh air, Scenery, and most importantly Fossils!
You don’t need lots of equipment or expertise to become a fossil hunter. Your most important assets are your eyes and your feet. However, the following fossil hunting equipment will set you in good stead:
Equipment guide - Fossil Hunters.
Camera – A camera or camera phone is ideal to take pictures of any bigger fossils you may find on your fossil hunting adventure.
Protect your findings – Ensuring that you have some small bags and something to protect your findings is very important, newspaper is ideal.
Label everything! – Taking a pen and some sticky labels is a great way to keep tabs of where and when you made your discoveries.
Whilst some fossil collectors use geological hammers and chisels; the most important thing when starting out is keeping a sharp eye.
There are a few pointers to keep in mind to stay safe whilst fossil hunting. Below are just a small selection - so be sure to visit the links section at the end of this guide for more handy advice and information.
Keeping safe when Fossil Hunting
Take heed of any warning signs that you may find in the area, rules can change from beach to beach, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and know your do’s from your don’ts!
Keep away from cliffs and don’t ever try to remove a fossil from them - you will find most fossils hiding amongst the rocks and pebbles on the beach.
Always let someone know when you are heading off on a fossil hunting expedition and let them know when you expect to return.
Check tide times before you set off and try to visit the beach during a falling tide. So that you don’t have any chance of getting cut off by the sea.
Don’t fossil hunt after heavy rain and always keep away from mudflows.
Lyme Regis is one of the most popular destinations for fossil hunters in the UK, there are plenty of related shops, museums and tours to interest everyone from beginners to professional collectors. Due to Lyme Regis being within the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline, it is forbidden to hammer or dig the cliffs, as you can imagine, this is also for safety reasons.
Church Cliff beach in Lyme Regis offers hunters the possibility of finding fossils amongst the pebbles, but also larger uncovered moulds and impressions that have been left by collectors due to their size.
Monmouth Beach, just to the west of Lyme Regis is another fossil hunting location in Dorset where beginners can spend hours searching for fossils. You will find plenty of ammonites across the beach’s rocks to photograph, a great plus is that the sandy part of the beach makes it perfect for summer days out.
Coram Tower - Superb luxurious ground floor apartment set in a large well maintained Victorian Coastal House which is Grade II, listed.
Corn Cottage – A charming barn conversion, semi-detached, tucked away in a quiet courtyard setting of Lower Bruckland Farm,
Seaton, located in East Devon is a perfect fossil collecting holiday destination, with its long stretches of shoreline that heads towards Beer head, hiding a whole host of hidden Jurassic finds. One of the best places to find fossils in season is by the Promenade, where you will find various collections of fossils in the surrounding Chalk, Lias and Triassic formations.
The Pillar Barn - A Stunning detached barn, Grade II listed barn conversion, dating back to the 17th century, in the pretty village of Colyford near to Seaton.
Dalmose – A delightful spacious 1920's detached house, situated in a very convenient location in the centre of Seaton. Dalmose is one of our Milkbere’s newest properties and has been completely renovated. Perfect for families of fossil hunters!
A few fossil hunting tips...
As mentioned previously, one of the safest and most enjoyable places to unearth fossils is on the beach, where the sea has removed any mud or soft clay.
If you think you have found an important fossil specimen, it should be reported to the proper authorities, who will take its details and allow you to keep it (this varies dependant on your location).
Never under estimate the power of the sea and keep safe during stormy or rough weather.
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