This weekend we headed off to Lyme Regis, a small town on the southwest coast of England famous for its charm, beautiful setting, and abundance of fossils. In fact, the coast in this part of England is called the Jurassic Coast because seaside cliffs contain fossil layers dating back to the Jurassic Period.
As usual, our Goat Path Seeker took us on some amazing backroads to get to our destination.
Upon arriving in Lyme Regis we found the small house we had rented through Airbnb and then took an evening walk in our Wellies on the beach. We returned to our short-term home and for dinner had a delicious shepherd’s pie that Julie had made the day before in anticipation of the trip.
Saturday morning we got an early start to take advantage of the timing of low tide (and because I was itching to get moving). Our plan was to head west from the Lyme Regis harbor to see if we could find some fossils, and we were not disappointed. As we headed down the beach we soon started to find large ammonite fossils.
Before long, we found more and more of the large fossils, which date back about 200 million years.
After about thirty minutes of walking we reached the “Ammonite Graveyard.” There were hundreds of spiral fossils of various sizes.
We kept walking down the stony beach finding more fantastic fossils.
The rule is that you can keep anything you can carry off the beach. We found some of the “smaller” fossils and were sorely tempted to try to take them home.
It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos, but these stones are both very large. I carried one of them about 100 feet to bring the pair together, and it nearly exhausted me. Given how tired I was, I’m guessing that they each weighed about 500 pounds. In the end, we decided to take home only our smaller specimens. My lower back rejoiced. Having enjoyed our fossil hunting immensely, the girls shifted gears to playing in the water.
Later that day, we enjoyed wandering around Lyme Regis. With the lovely weather, the town was packed with local British families.
The already nice weather surprised everyone by continuing to improve, becoming unseasonably warm. Everyone was enjoying a taste of summer. For Lydie and Cassie, that meant taking off their shoes to play in the water.
This left Julie and me free to enjoy a relaxing drink looking out at the town, cliffs, and sea.
While we were enjoying our John Smiths (incongruously served in a Grosch glass), the girls had been working to build a sand castle.
I was particularly pleased with this sand castle, and it suggested to me that Lydie and Cassie might actually be learning something during our many castle trips. The concentric rings of walls they made are clearly patterned after the Thirteenth Century castles of Edward I in Wales. Clearly. (In fact, it was Edward I that gave the royal charter to Lyme Regis, which led to the addition of “Regis” to the town’s name. Sometimes it feels like we are on an Edward I tour of the U.K.)
We had dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant, and then took a walk on the harbor wall, known locally as “the Cobb.”
The Cobb dates back to the 1300s, though it has been rebuilt many times after particularly powerful storms.
The Cobb was one of the reasons that the port in Lyme Regis was so successful in centuries gone by. By today’s standards, the port is rather quaint, particularly during a warm spring sunset.
The next morning, we packed up, puttered around Lyme Regis a bit more, and searched for more fossils on the beach. We had a picnic lunch on the Cobb, and decided to drive one town over to Charmouth to explore the area a bit more. Charmouth can’t compete with Lyme Regis for charm, but it does have a beautiful cliff walk. Julie and I set off on a hike while the girls frolicked in the small waves. Somehow, the weather was even nicer than the day before. By the time Julie and I got to the top of the cliffs, we had to strip down to our t-shirts.
You can see Lyme Regis in the distance with the Cobb jutting out into the water. The girlians were delighted with the warm weather and sunshine and played in the ocean.
Soon, it was time to start heading back home to Woodstock. As we drove away from the Jurassic Coast, the weather started to revert to its usual English cloudiness.
On our way home, we passed right by Stonehenge!
It looked exciting, but it was too late to visit. It would have to wait for another day. We had already had a wonderful weekend, and were happy to be bringing home with us plenty of memories, a nice assortment of small fossils, and most remarkably sunburns.