April-May Fossil Hunters Diary

May
Due to the upgrade work on my website, (making the site useable on mobile phones and
tablets) it has been a while since I have updated this blog. The weather is strange, a warm
Easter and recently a cold freezing May Day.
Over the last few weeks I have taken numerous groups fossil hunting. The beach is still
covered in a vast amount of shingle which has not shifted for months. I am always amazed
how much the structure and look of the beach changes with every tide. One day I can be
walking across a vast expanse of sand and two days later the tide, wind and sea have swept
away the sand. There is now a pebble and a beach strewn with a ridge of shingle stretching
along the high water mark. The best areas to find fossils along the Jurassic coast vary each
week.
To the west of Charmouth, there is a large snout of mud which for the last ten years has
been a great source of fossils such as belemnites, ammonites and even the occasional piece
of an ichthyosaur. Two years ago, after a southwest storm, the snout of mud was swept
away and a mass of shingle surged from the Lyme Regis side of the beach, completely
covering this area. The fossils are now buried below this mass of shingle and for the
moment nature has closed off this once productive area, until the next storm sweeps away
the covering of pebbles and stone.
To the west of Lyme Regis is Monmouth Beach where you can see the “Ammonite
Graveyard”. A ledge packed with remains of hundreds of ammonites. For many years this
area was fairly stable but in recent years, the winter storms have surged and a section of the
pavement has been destroyed. Further along the beach is a section of old stone workers’
railway track, which has been in situ since 1870 – much of this has now gone.
The moral of the story is: if you see a fossil on the beach save it because it will not last
forever!