Private fossil walks
A private walk will last approximately three hours and includes a talk beforehand about the geological history of the Jurassic Coast, how it was formed and show examples of the fossils that can be found. You will be briefed on the ‘Fossil Code of Conduct’ that operates in the area and health and safety in order to minimise risk whilst out on the beach. The talk aims to give you the knowledge required to find fossils safely and effectively.
The Perks of private fossil walks
Compared to a public walk, a private walk offers a more personal and focused service. James offers one to one guidance with you or your family to ensure you make the most out of your trip to the Jurassic Coast. A private walk also allows more of the beach to be covered.
The fossils found on Charmouth Beach were deposited almost 200 million years ago in a shallow sea. At the time, ammonites, squids, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, sharks and fish inhabited the area; these are just a few examples of the fossil remains we can encounter on the beach today.
In 15 years of collecting, James has never left the beach empty-handed. You are guaranteed to come home with a piece of the Jurassic Coast's history.
The cost of the walk is £100 for a single party/group of 1 to 10 people (please note that this will be increasing to £130 from 1st January 2022). A cash payment once the walk is complete is preferred. This removes the hassle of refunds should the walk need to be cancelled.
30 - 45 minutes
Pre-beach talk/show and tell. Using examples of fossils found in the same area, you will be briefed on what to look for. A safety briefing will also follow.
A slow, steady walk along the beach collecting fossils. James will be able to assist with identification and help you understand which rocks to look for.
~ 30 minutes
Walk back to the meeting point.
Walks typically last around 3 hours, but will always be finished one hour after low tide to stay safe.
What do i need to bring?
Sturdy footwear with ankle support is recommended. It can be easy to lose your footing (even for experienced collectors). Walking boots or Wellington boots are recommended. Walking at a slow and steady pace also helps reduce the risk of falling. Clothing should be appropriate for the weather conditions of the day; if it’s lovely and sunny then hats, sun cream and cool drinks are advised, and likewise to dress up warm with coats handy if rain is forecast.
Hammers aren’t recommended. Most fossils are found without hitting rocks. However, part of the trip will include a demonstration on what stones to look for, the signs a nodule contains a fossil, and how to use a hammer to effectively break open nodules. If you are planning to have a go at splitting stones under guidance, then a pair of safety goggles and gloves are strongly advised.
If you wish to use your own hammer, further advice will be provided regarding the best types of hammers to bring along in the booking email.
Charmouth (DT6 6LL)
Grid Reference: SY 36375 93037
Walk past the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre (green) heading west (right when facing the sea) and towards the end of the concrete promenade before the wooden walkway (brown) to the beach. Walks begin next to the coastguard sign (white/yellow dot). Charmouth has three large car parks (blue) with the first car park you come across situated on the left as you drive down Lower Sea Lane toward the foreshore (top right of image).
Parking in this car park is currently £4.50 for the day. There is a cafe and toilets beside the main car park, which charges by the hour.
Please send an email with the date(s) you are available. Walks are only booked if weather and tidal conditions allow for safe collecting.
If you have any further questions or require more information then please feel free to get in touch by email or mobile.
When making a booking, please provide the name of the group or family leader and a contact mobile number. In the unlikely event the conditions are too dangerous to venture out, i.e. large waves crashing in at the beach due to severe storms or large cliff collapses taking place, then the walk may be relocated, delayed, cut short or even cancelled if it is too risky. Cancellations due to adverse conditions may take place at short notice.