If you haven’t already tried it, fossil hunting is a fantastic day out for the whole family, with fun, fresh air and the chance to start your own collection!
Don't worry, any fossils left on the beach would be naturally lost to the sea anyway, so feel free to take them home with you.
Here in South West England, we’re lucky to have some great places for fossil hunting, with excellent sites in Somerset at Minehead, Watchet and Quantoxhead and Dorset at Charmouth, Portland and Lyme Regis, to name only a few.
In fact, with its unique geology and prehistoric features, the entire coastline between Exmouth in East Devon and Studland in Dorset, known as the Jurassic Coast has been officially designated as England's first Natural World Heritage Site - placing it alongside the Great Barrier Reef as one of the natural wonders of the world.
"The Explorers Guide to the Jurassic Coast", a new 48 page booklet (pictured above) designed to help you and your family explore, learn about and enjoy the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, is now available from Tourist Information Centres and Visitor Centres across Dorset and East Devon.
The best time to collect fossils by the sea is at low tide, after there’s been a storm – when the cliffs have been eroded by the crashing waves. This makes fossil hunting a great reason to take family holidays in Somerset and Dorset during the late autumn, throughout the winter and into early spring.
But remember, be extremely careful when you’re walking near the cliffs as falls can happen at any time. In fact, it's usually best to spend time looking on the beach itself anyway, as the cliff falls will often dislodge the fossils among the stones on the beach.
For more information on hunting for fossils in South West England, including good fossil hunting locations, details of guided fossil hunting expeditions, residential courses and much more follow these links;