Jurassic Spring 2020-The Plague.

Jurassic Spring Watch 2020.

This Easter has had the best weather for years with blue skies and a sea glistening like the Mediterranean. This could have been one of the busiest Easter’s ever, on the Jurassic Coast.

Unfortunately, in January in a small town in China a person was tempted by a nice meal of fried bats and noodles and managed to achieve in that one meal a world catastrophe of huge consequences.
How the dinosaurs must chuckle, at least their end had come from space where as mankind’s could come from a meal of bats.

The beaches are empty the shops are closed and I am in an enforced hibernation along with most of the world.
I am lucky; I live near the sea and take my exercise walks along the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast. The beach to the east of Charmouth, is still covered in sand deposited during the winter storms. The cliffs have had recent falls and there are accumulated mud and rocks at the base. On my slow walk along the beach there are plenty of belemnites and ammonites to pick up. On the beach are the tracks of an electric wheel chair. I do not know who this person is but I am amazed how far along he is able to drive.

At Charmouth, the Heritage Centre, Fossil shop and car parks are closed and it is very quiet. While at Lyme Regis the May Bank holiday Fossil Festival has been cancelled and in the town only the supermarket is open. We went for a walk round the Cobb (harbour) and we were the only people there.

The topping stone on the High Wall of the harbour was built from imported Portland Stone, in 1837. In the stone can be found ammonites (Titanites giganteus) and plenty of fossil bi-valves (Trigonia marariticea).
On Monmouth Beach (to the West of Lyme Regis) the winter storms have destroyed some of the “Ammonite Pavement” and frequently the limestone ledge of ammonites is covered in shingle.

It is strange to walk round a ghost town. The last time Lyme Regis was this quiet was in July 1348 when on 7th July a small cargo ship arrived at the harbour in Weymouth and introduced the first recorded case of the “Bubonic Plague” to Britain. I’m not sure how long their “lock-down” lasted!

(When my walks do resume please note they are not group walks but small individual family or for couples. I will address you with a loudhailerand keep a safe distance……..)

Nigel Clarke


“Well there is just the two of us!”

ichthyosaur find

The Great Landslip of 1839 and creation of Goat Island

I attended a talk by the former county geologist Richard Edmunds. Richard is passionate about the Jurassic coast and is also a phenomenal collector and conservator of fossils.  He has a unique collection including an ichthyosaur, plesiosaur and many ammonites.

For the last few years, Richard has been mapping and recording the famous landslide that occurred in 1839 to the west of Lyme Regis.

On Christmas Eve 1839, a huge landslide occurred and twenty acres of land subsided, pushing a large reef off- shore from the sea. The landslip created a vast chasm, one mile long and 150ft deep. A plateau of 15 acres became isolated and became known as Goat Island. Richard has been recording the boundaries of the faults and the reason this cataclysmic event occurred and is about to publish a paper on the subject.

The chasm attracted many visitors, including Queen Victoria and in an antique shop in Lyme Regis, you can frequently find lithographs drawn after the event.

You are able to visit the site today by following the coastal footpath to the west of Lyme Regis. The area is heavily wooded and is one of the most beautiful section of the Jurassic Coast