Dorset is home to one of the most remarkable stretches of coast England has to offer. Most of it is known as the Jurassic Coast; a World Heritage Site which stretches out from Orcombe Point to Studland Bay. This strip of coast is rich with fossils, making it a popular spot for fossil hunting with families and palaeontology enthusiasts alike.
One of the charms of the Dorset coast is that not only is it great for fossil hunting, but when you tire of scouring the beach, there is plenty more fun to be had. Admire the impressive arches and rock stacks, jump in the sea or simply enjoy a picnic with a view. To give you the best shot at finding your own fossil, here are a selection of the best fossil hunting beaches in Dorset.
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The beach at Charmouth is renowned for its bountiful fossil hunting opportunities. Head down to the shore and keep your eyes peeled for fossils; one of the joys of fossil hunting is that you never know what you might find. If you need some guidance, take part in one of the guided fossil walks. This is a great location for kids as there are plenty of amenities nearby in case your group needs a break.
The beach at Lyme Regis is also one of the top fossil hunting locations in Dorset. It can get busy in the summer months, but don’t let that put you off. Ammonites are most common here, but there are others to be found if you look carefully. You can also take part in fossil walking tours here if you would rather go with a group. After a long afternoon, there are plenty of places nearby to enjoy some refreshment.
For a little more peace and quiet while you hunt for fossils, Chapman’s Pool might be the place for you. This quiet cove is harder to get to, so be careful and make your own decision about whether it is suitable for your group. However, if you do make it to the beach you’ll be treated to fewer (if any) crowds and stunning sea views. Ammonites and bivalves are popular fossils to find here.
Lulworth Cove is a stunning and popular destination, even if you aren’t fossil hunting. This horseshoe-shaped beach is sheltered and ideal for families. Lulworth Cove is particularly impressive for its Fossil Forest. Admittedly not quite the same as fossil hunting, but this petrified remains of a cypress forest couldn’t be left off the list. It is remarkable and well worth a visit.
Dogs are allowed on Ringstead Bay all year round; making it an ideal place to go if you don’t want to leave your pup at home. This shingle beach is ideal for fossil hunting and the crystal clear waters are perfect for a mid-hunt dip, making Ringstead Bay perfect for a summer day out. It is particularly well suited for families, with toilets and refreshments nearby.