Enjoy an educational holiday on the Jurassic Coast

Friday, 27 April 2012 9:09 AM

Dorset is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK for its long coastline, beautiful beaches and warm atmosphere. It also has excellent educational value too, with short breaks here offering visitors the chance to learn all about the UK's interesting paleontological history.

Something that the county is famous for is its Jurassic Coast and, with an abundance of dinosaur bones found here, this area is particularly interesting for children wanting to discover more about these ancient creatures.

The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles and stretches between Dorset and Devon on the southern coast of England. This area has been give World Heritage Site status due to its geological importance, with some rocks spanning 185 million years of history.

While its name suggests that most of the fossils found here are from the Jurassic period, rocks can actually be discovered from the Triassic and Cretaceous eras too.

Visiting the Jurassic Coast could be a good choice for a short holiday, as popular Dorset towns such as Bridport, Weymouth, Swanage and Lyme Regis are all within easy reach of the shoreline. Therefore, you will find plenty of holiday cottages near the Jurassic Coast that will enable you to explore the beaches by day before retreating to your home away from home as the sun begins to set.

Once you have settled into your accommodation, head straight to the coastline, as this is where you could discover some prehistoric fossils of your own. Areas that are particularly rich in these extracts are Lyme Regis and Charmouth's cliffs. Look carefully and you may find remnants of animals that swam in the sea during the Jurassic period millions of years ago.

You can join the crowds of eager geologists and budding palaeontologists who come to the beach to find something special to take home with them. This stretch of coast has an abundance of fossils, making it one of the richest areas in the world with regards to Jurassic relics.

If you fancy learning more about the area's past and the creatures that used to live during this period, you can take a guided fossil hunting walk from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre or the Lyme Regis Museum. Following experts as you stroll along the beach will give you a far better chance of spotting some fossils, as they know exactly where to look for them.

One popular destination for fossil hunters is Lulworth Cove, as dinosaur footprints can be seen near this natural bay. This is also a great place to visit, because, as well as its close proximity to fossil-rich locations on the beach, it is one of Dorset's most beautiful spots.

The cove offers breathtaking views of the sea, particularly during the summertime, and tourists looking for a break from all the excavation work will be able to stop at one of the many cafes here for a bite to eat. Toilets, a car park and boat trips all make this a popular destination among visitors to the county, so head here early to make the most of the bay before the crowds arrive.

Once you have replenished yourself, continue walking down the coastline where you may locate a few more fossils before you call it a day. You could bring some souvenirs back to your Dorset holiday cottage, but don't forget to only take what you need and leave some for other explorers coming to the area who are eager to find a few fossils for themselves.


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