Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fossil Hunting in England's Jurassic - the Jurassic Coast

April 18 - Lyme Regis, Seatown, and Charmouth, Dorset

We have arrived on the Jurassic Coast, England's only natural World Heritage Site, a total of 95 miles along the southern coast on the English Channel.

Our first stop - Lyme Regis, home of Mary Anning.

The entire town pays homage to her and to ammonites - they're everywhere: decorative street lights, embedded in the pavement, in stained glass and jewelry, stuffed animals, and for sale.

Mary Anning's home, now a museum

First on the agenda was to visit the museum built on the site of her humble home where her father and mother had a shop selling fish and fossils.  It is a stunning museum filled with fossils and historical documents:

Mary Anning's museum with portraits of relatives
and Lyme Regis dignitaries.

Mary Anning's book in which she wrote
poems, hymns, and extracts from writers
 such as Byron, giving insight into her
personal feelings.

Barry, deep in thought.
A letter from Mary Anning to
William Buckland telling him she
had found another Plesiosaurus
superior to the one purchased by
the Duke of Buckingham.

William Buckland's table top made from coprolites!  His son Francis
writes, "It was often much admired by persons who had not the least
idea of what they were looking at."

Two fossil shops in town were chock full of ammonites, belemnites, brittle stars, and ichthyosaurs.

How about this one?
I think this one would look good in our house...

We then drove to Seatown, a small hamlet perhaps 6 miles east where we will do some scouting during the week, and then we backtracked a few miles west to Charmouth, another major Jurassic beach where we found our cottage ready for us a few hundred yards from the cliff edge and beach.  It's steak and potato pasty for tea, and then we'll check the tide times for tomorrow's first day of scouting the southern coast.

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