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Jurassic Coast, South West England

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In the south western part of England lies a stretch of magnificent coastline which has been class as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The coastline reveals million years of geological formation hence it is affectionately called The Jurassic Coast.   

The Jurassic Coast is a popular travel destination in England. It stretches from East Dorset near Swanage to Orcombe Point near Exmouth, and it span a total distance of 95miles. (153km). The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site not only for its stunning coastline; it also contained 180 million years of geological history.

As you explore the Jurassic Coast starting from East Dorset to Exmouth, the geological make up unfold before you. Walking the Jurassic coast is a walk through time from the Cretaceous, to Jurassic and Triassic period. There are walking guides or leaflets that will help you understand how the world had evolved; the Triassic time (200 million years ago) when Britain is part of a super continent called Pangaea, the Jurassic time (140 million years ago) when continents separate, expansion of shallow seas form islands and encourage lives. Animals evolved and dinosaurs such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs walk and dominate earth. The Cretaceous time (65 million years ago) is a period when the first flowering plant evolved, and dominance of the largest and most fearsome dinosaurs on earth. It is also the time when mass extinction took place bringing an end the reign of dinosaurs on Earth.

The different geological period is also depicted in the form nature’s phenomenon such as the Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch formation near Lulworth, coves, limestone folding cliffs and shingle beach, and red, crimson cliffs in Sidmouth. Many fossils have been found in the Jurassic Coast making this World Heritage site the ideal place for geological research and a favourite haunt of fossil hunters.

For avid and first time fossil hunters, Charmouth and Lyme Regis in the Jurassic Coast present the most ideal condition to find fossils. The stagnant clay soil in Charmouth and Lyme Regis is ideal for preserving shells, bones and even soft tissue of dead pre-historic creatures. Rich fossil bearing deposits of 195 million year old Green Ammonite and 197 million year old Belamnite can be found anywhere along the Jurassic Coast.

Charmouth is also the safest place to look for fossils. The tools for finding fossils are geological hammer; chisel and trowel. The tools can be bought at shops around the beach. Look carefully amongst rock and pebbles on the beach when tide is falling. Join the many fossil enthusiasts as they scour the rocky mud, hammer and chisel in the hope to find a fossilised animal. The aftermath of a winter storm is also a good time to find fossils, though it is not recommended due to the danger of landslides.

Jurassic Coast can be enjoyed either by walking, hopping on and off the Jurassic Coast bus or by car through the Gateway Towns. The South West Coast trails runs along the entire length of the Jurassic Coast. It is easy to follow and a great way to fully appreciate the stunning views of cliffs faces and changes in rock formation of the different prehistoric period. There are also guided walks available throughout the year and you can also learn about the area at museums and visitor centres along the way.

Had enough of walking, just hop on the Jurassic Coast bus and get off at the next stunning view. The bus service which runs every 2 hours also connect the different Gateway Towns allowing visitors to start their tour at different point of the Jurassic Coast.

Jurassic Coast is a great holiday destination for families and singles. It possesses the element of thrill in fossil hunting, appreciation of nature wonders and the surreal feeling of being on the same ground where dinosaur walks.

 

 

 

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