This is one post in a series of posts I have done about the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. England’s only natural World Heritage Site.
As a child I used to love fossil hunting. I used to spend many an afternoon sitting on a beach during the summer holidays watching the world go by and smashing up some rocks.
Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset is one of the best places along the Jurassic Coast to look for fossils. So good infact that you can pretty much pick up any stone from the beach and discover one.
Kimmeridge is an interesting place with plenty to discover beyond the fantastic geology. It is still surrounded by Ministry of Defence firing ranges and has the UK’s oldest working oil pump. The ‘nodding donkey’ as it is affectionately known has been continually pumping since the late 1950’s.
Perched upon the clifftops above the bay is also Clavell Tower which was built in 1830. Over the years it has been relocated away from the cliff edge due to erosion and no doubt in future years it will have to be moved back again. The tower is a fascinating landmark and has inspired some great British authors. Thomas Hardy used an illustration of it in his Wessex Poems and often brought his first love here.
In the 1930’s the tower was gutted by fire and its desolate state inspired the author P.D. James when writing his award winning novel The Black Tower.
Nowadays the tower is owned by The Landmark Trust and has been restored to its former glory. It is even possible to rent it out and stay there for a weekend!
Back down in the bay, where children and adults alike drag there feet through the shale and slate stones whilst a gentle wash rolls onto the beach, there is also a marine centre which is run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust and is open everyday. It has with interactive displays & aquaria and provides a fascinating and vital source of information, encouraging all ages to explore the bay, its ledges and rockpools.
During a recent visit I relived some of those balmy summer afternoons as a child and found a comfortable spot on the beach and began smashing some rocks and you know what I found some fossils in my very first stone!