Fossil hunting at Kimmeridge Bay.

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The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English coast that stretches from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset.

Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud
Kimmeridge Bay on the Jurassic Coast by Juliamaud

 

Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud
Group on Kimmeridge Bay by Juliamaud

You may not have heard of Kimmeridge in Dorset. I know I hadn’t until  a group of us went there in search of fossils.

Kimmeridge is a small coastal village that enjoys international recognition due to the fossils that commonly occur throughout the Kimmeridge Clay. In particular there are shells of ammonites and bivalves, as well as the skeletal remains of marine reptiles and (occassionally) the bones of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

The Etches Collection

After a wall along the bay, looking for fossils, our group visited the nearby Etches Collection. This state of the art museum was created by famous fossil hunter and expert Steve Etches MBE.

Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs
Steve Etches with Catherine Skeggs

Steve spent years combing the coast for ammonites and dinosaur bones. He collected so many that a £5m, world-class museum had to be built to house them all.

The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life opened in 2016. It is a new purpose built museum  about a mile from the beach. It contains a magnificent collection of around 2,500 specimens. The permanent home for the collection is managed by a  trust, that was created to hold the finds for the nation. Local landowner, the Smedmore Estate, donated the site for the museum and the Lottery Heritage Fund gave £2.5m to the project, which was matched by private donations.

Visiting Kimmeridge Bay and The Etches Collection

The bay is reached by way of a narrow toll road a short distance from the village. Plenty of parking is available at the cliff-top. Fossil hunting is permitted at Kimmeridge Bay, but the use of hammers is not.

The Etches Collection is in the village of Kimmeridge, eight miles south of Wareham in Dorset. Kimmeridge is sign posted from the A351 at Wareham.  As you turn into the village, the museum building is on the right hand side.

The Etches Collection by Juliamaud

The Etches Collection

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