Download our free Beginners guide to fossil hunting in Charmouth to learn how to start fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach.
Hensleigh House is ideally located for those wanting to try their hand at Fossil Hunting in Charmouth. With the beach just 300 metres away, and best of all, no big hills to climb after a tiring day on the beach, we provide a friendly relaxing base for your holiday.
With patience, and by adopting the correct approach, anyone can find fossils in Charmouth.
Regretfully many visitors rush onto the cliffs with their hammers, which is dangerous, prohibited, and very unlikely to result in success. Meanwhile the more perceptive visitor, the locals, and many professional collectors will be found further down the beach closer to the water's edge, searching in the stones and gravel.
Contrary to popular belief you don't need any special equipment to go fossil hunting in Charmouth, just your eyes, warm and suitable clothing, and details of the tides and weather.
The ideal time to go fossil hunting is around 2 hours before low tide (winter is best!). Tide timetables are available at Hensleigh House, or you can visit www.tidetimes.org.uk and search for Lyme Regis. Remember they change daily!
Fossils appear on both the East and West beaches at Charmouth. They can be found anywhere as the wind, cliff erosion, the size of waves, the tides, and many other factors change the beach every day. Generally it is best to walk up to 400 metres on the beach to find the best areas.
Find a good spot to search between the high and low water marks (not up at the cliffs). Closer to the low water, but before the flat sand, is usually best. Look for where debris from the cliff has been washed down the beach. For example collections of large grey stones, dirty looking grey sand, and particularly knobbly dark brown lumps of Iron Pyrite. Here the fossils will have been washed out of the mud and clay. Lovely golden smooth sand is great for building castles, but less likely to contain fossils.
Having found your spot it's then a case of getting down on hands and knees and searching between the stones and gravel. Try to look for regular shapes, or regular patterns.
Finding your first fossil can be thrilling, and usually leads to many more hours of discovery.
For more information see our Beginners guide to fossil hunting in charmouth
Coastal walks, fossil walks, and Broadchurch experiences can be booked with:
Martin Curtis www.jurassiccoastguides.co.uk 07900 257944