Fossil Hunters Urged to Stay Clear of Dangerous Cliffs

The Lyme Regis Fossil Festival is in full swing, but visitors to the event who decide to try to find their own fossils on the beaches surrounding the town should heed the warning of local fossil experts and keep well clear of the dangerous cliffs.  The cliffs on both sides of the Cobb are extremely dangerous and mudslides and rock falls are common.  Yet despite the dangers, unwary tourists still venture very close to the cliffs and indeed can be seen clambering over recent rock falls and mudslides in their quest for fossils.

A rock fall on Monmouth beach (west of Lyme Regis) which took place on the 14th April, resulted in many tonnes of debris being scattered across the famous limestone paving.  Despite the danger of more rocks crashing down onto the beach, the picture below, taking by local fossil expert Brandon Lennon shows a number of foolhardy beachcombers straying to close to this part of the cliffs.  In the picture, a couple of people can be seen actually sitting on top of the rock fall.

The Recent Rockfall on Monmouth Beach

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

Brandon Lennon’s public fossil walk on Friday, the first day of the fossil festival, took his party past the recent rockfall.  Brandon’s father, geologist Ian can be seen at the far right of the photograph, keeping a sensible distance from the danger area and pointing out just how far onto the shoreline large boulders toppling from the unstable cliffs can reach.

Although fossils can be a source of fascination, and there is nothing as exciting as finding your own fossil, visitors to the beaches around Lyme Regis and Charmouth should take great care and avoid getting too close to the cliff faces, these areas are extremely dangerous.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“Rock falls and mudslides are very frequent along this stretch of the coastline, yet people are still venturing too close to the cliffs and even climbing onto recent rock falls in a fool hardy quest for fossils.  The best advice we can give is to go on an organised fossil walk with a local expert.”

Visitors should heed the advice of local fossil experts and take notice of the many signs posted up along the beach area, the beaches may look benign but the combination of steep cliffs and saturated strata being constantly undercut by wave action makes more mudslides and rockfalls inevitable.

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