Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast – Book Review

By | March 4th, 2020|Book Reviews, Dinosaur Fans, Main Page, Photos/Pictures of Fossils|0 Comments

A Review of “Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast”

The revered UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Jurassic Coast” has far more to offer fossil enthusiasts than just the congested beaches associated with Lyme Regis and Charmouth.  Head east towards Weymouth, travelling forward in deep geological time through the Jurassic and into the Cretaceous and the visitor to such places as Redcliffe Point, Bowleaze Cove and West Weare Cliff can be rewarded with some fantastic fossil discoveries.  In addition, intrepid explorers can enjoy some of the most spectacular and picturesque parts of the coast of southern England.

Providing a guide to this beautiful part of the world, is a new book written by dedicated fossil collectors Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers.  Entitled “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast”, this is one book that does exactly what it claims to do in the title and what an excellent read it is too!

Fossil Hunting Guide with a Focus on the South Dorset Coast

"Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast"

Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast by Steve Snowball and Craig Chivers.  The front cover features a theropod dinosaur, a pliosaur Pliosaurus kevani and an example of an ammonite fossil.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Exploring a Range of Prehistoric Landscapes

Aimed at amateur fossil collectors as well as general visitors to the Dorset coast, this, the second volume in the series, takes the reader eastwards along the Dorset coast heading in the direction of Weymouth, the Isle of Portland and beyond.  The western part of the Dorset coast, covered in the first book, dealt with the fossils that can be found in the marine deposits associated with Lyme Regis, Seatown and the coastline eastwards towards Burton Bradstock.  In this guide, the reader is given the opportunity to explore different ancient environments as the rocks along the shoreline provide clues to ancient lagoons, dinosaur dominated floodplains as well as ancient seas populated by ammonites, corals, dense beds of oysters and exotic sea urchins.

An Example of a Sea Urchin (Holaster spp.) from the Cretaceous Upper Greensand Exposures of Ringstead Bay

Sea urchin fossil from Ringstead Bay

A beautifully preserved sea urchin (Holaster spp.) from the Cretaceous Upper Greensand of Ringstead Bay.

Picture Credit: Snowball and Chivers

Following a general introduction section, outlining the importance of the “Jurassic Coast”, the reader is provided with information regarding the fossil collecting code and then schooled in the geology of the region.  The brief guide to the geology and landscapes of south Dorset then leads onto a series of chapters that provide details on excursions that can be undertaken to prospect for fossils.  Each location is beautifully illustrated with stunning photographs of the fossils that can be found and the ancient prehistoric landscapes are brought to life by Andreas Kurpisz, from a shallow sea with an oyster reef to a herd of brachiosaurs wandering across what would eventually become part of the Purbeck Formation.

A View of Bowleaze Cove from Redcliff Point

A View of the strata associated with Bowleaze Cove.

The rugged and beautiful Bowleaze Cove (south Dorset).  The book provides details of numerous excursions to some of the more secluded areas of the “Jurassic Coast”.

Picture Credit: Snowball and Chivers

Detailed Information About Fossil Collecting on the Isle of Portland is Provided

West Weare Cliff (Dorset).

West Weare Cliff at the end of Chesil Beach in Dorset.  The Kimmeridge Clay exposures can provide a wealth of fossils including ichthyosaur and plesiosaur remains.

Picture Credit: Snowball and Chivers

“A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast” provides a comprehensive overview on fossil collecting opportunities along the coast of  southern Dorset, it is essential reading for fossil collectors and for those wishing to explore eastwards along the “Jurassic Coast” from Burton Bradstock.

Published by Siri Scientific Press, “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the South Dorset Coast” can be found here: Purchase the Book Here.

To read Everything Dinosaur’s review of the first book in this series: A Review of “A Guide to Fossil Collecting on the West Dorset Coast”.