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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Nature Activities: Fossil Hunting and handy tips to finding a fossil

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Like any mum with small children we started our fossil hunting journey at Charmouth. You are almost guaranteed to find fossils at Charmouth and they have a wonderful Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre that houses some of the most famous fossils found in the area including Attenboroughs Sea Dragon, and entry is free.

As fossil hunting novices we booked a fossil hunting guided tour and I am glad we did as it tells us exactly what to look for. And I have to say each time we have fossil hunted since we have always found something.

Here are some handy tips to ensure you find a fossil:

  1. Go between November and April as the winter seas tend to churn up more fossils; however you can fossil hunt all year round.

  2. Look for grey stones, most fossils especially ammonites are found in grey stones. Particularly if these stones have white lines or patterns them. These can then be chipped away at with a fossil hammer (don't forget your goggles).

  3. Look for shale or sandstone as a sedimentary rock can often house fossils and shale is easily split open and home to lots of interesting things.

  4. Have an eye for detail, Belemnite fossils are often found as they are tucked away amongst the pebbles, some disc like shapes with dimples in can be in fact vertebrae.

  5. If you are unsure what you have found you can get it identified here if you cannot make Charmouth's Heritage Coast Centre

Please also remember your safety, like tide times, do not hammer without goggles and do not fossil hunt in the cliffs as they can be prone to cliff falls. Also some places do not allow you to use a hammer so please check before doing so.

So far we have found fossils in Charmouth and Kimmeridge Bay, the Jurassic Coast is a pretty safe bet. Happy Fossil Hunting!

I'd love to hear about your fossil hunting expeditions! Where have you had a successful fossil hunt? What was your best find?

A selection of fossils found on Charmouth Beach

The charmouth dinosaur

Attenborough,s sea dragon

Boy touching a huge amonite

Boy looking at fossils at the Charmouth Coastal Heritage Centre

Fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach

An anomite we found on Charmouth Beach

An Amonite we found on Charmouth Beach

An anomite found in a piece of shale

Fossil found in a piece of shale

Fossil of a shell in some shale

Amonite fossil in some shale

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