Which coastal paths in Dorset are best for fossil hunting guided tours?

11 June 2024

Embarking on a fossil hunting trip isn't just about filling your pockets with ancient treasures; it's about stepping back in time, learning about Earth's history, and appreciating the beauty of the natural world. Dorset, a county on England's south coast, is an exceptional destination for such an adventure. Known as the Jurassic Coast, this area is renowned for its remarkable geology and abundant fossils. Professional guided tours can offer invaluable assistance and insight during your fossil hunting expedition. But how do you know which coastal paths in Dorset offer the best experience? Let's find out.

The Charmouth Beach Path

Charmouth Beach is a haven for fossil enthusiasts. A trip here offers a double delight: the fun of hunting for fossils and the breathtaking view of the Jurassic Coast. The beach's guided tours are available every Saturday and Sunday. The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre organises these trips, providing fascinating fossil displays and hands-on experiences.

Booking a guided tour here is a smart move. You'll not only have expert help in finding and identifying fossils, but you'll also receive valuable information about safety guidelines and legal restrictions on fossil hunting. The tour guides are passionate and knowledgeable, making the experience enjoyable and educational for both adults and children.

The Lyme Regis Fossil Walk

Another path worth exploring is the Lyme Regis Fossil Walk. This trail takes you along the stunning coastline of Lyme Regis, a town famous for its fossil-rich cliffs. Run by the Lyme Regis Museum, these guided walks are a perfect way to indulge in some fossil hunting while soaking in the beautiful coastal views.

In addition to showing you the best spots for finding fossils, the guides also provide interesting anecdotes about the town's history and its connection to the Jurassic era. They are available every day of the week, depending on the tides and weather conditions. It's best to check availability and book your tour in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Burton Bradstock Path

Burton Bradstock is another fantastic location on the Jurassic Coast for fossil hunting. Its cliffs are made up of layers of rock that date back millions of years, making them a treasure trove of fossils.

The guided walks here are led by experienced geologists who can offer assistance in identifying the different types of fossils you might find. They will also provide you with essential safety information as some areas of the cliff are prone to rock falls. The tours are available on weekends and during the school holidays.

The Golden Cap Path

The path leading to the Golden Cap - the highest point on the south coast of England - is also a noteworthy trail for fossil hunting. It's a slightly more challenging walk, but the rewards are worth the effort. You'll find an array of fossils here, along with a spectacular view of the Jurassic Coast.

The guided tours here are run by the National Trust, who provide expert guidance and support throughout the trip. They are available to book on Saturdays and Sundays, although availability can vary depending on the season and weather conditions.

The West Bay Path

Finally, the West Bay Path, located near the market town of Bridport, is a fantastic spot for fossil hunting. The towering cliffs here are part of the same geological formation as those at Lyme Regis, meaning they are equally rich in fossils.

The guided tours here are run by local experts who have a wealth of knowledge about the area's geology and paleontology. They will be able to guide you to the best spots for finding fossils and help you identify your finds. These tours can be booked for weekends or weekdays, depending on availability.

In conclusion, the diverse paths along the Dorset coast offer a variety of experiences for fossil enthusiasts. So whether you're a seasoned fossil hunter or a curious beginner, there's a guided tour in Dorset that's perfect for you. Happy hunting!

Exploring Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Paths

Lulworth Cove is another prime location for fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast. This stunning natural cove is famous for its unique geology, including the dramatic rock archway known as Durdle Door. The area exposes several rock layers, each with its own fossil record, offering an exciting opportunity to discover fossils from different time periods.

The guided tours here are operated by the Lulworth Estate. Their experienced guides will lead you to the best spots for finding fossils and provide fascinating insights into the geological history of the area. They also adhere to the guidelines set by the Jurassic Coast Trust, ensuring that fossil hunting is carried out responsibly and sustainably. Booking a tour here is a great way to enjoy some fossil hunting while also learning about the remarkable fossil record that makes this area so special.

It's worth noting that the walk to Durdle Door is relatively steep, but the breathtaking views - and the chance to hunt for fossils along the way - make it a firm favourite among fossil hunters. These tours are available every weekend, as well as during school holidays.

Mary Anning and the Rich History of Fossil Hunting in Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis holds a special place in the history of fossil hunting. It is the home of the famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning, who made significant contributions to the scientific understanding of prehistoric life. She is best known for her discoveries of marine fossil specimens in the cliffs at Lyme Regis. Today, Lyme Regis Museum runs fossil walks that follow in her footsteps, highlighting the town's remarkable fossil hunting history.

The museum's guided tours are led by professional paleontologists who provide invaluable insights into the fossils you might find and the geological history of the area. They also share stories about Mary Anning and her breakthrough discoveries, bringing to life the rich history of fossil hunting in Lyme Regis. These tours are available every day, weather permitting, and are a must for any fossil hunting trip to the Jurassic Coast.


From the dramatic cliffs of West Bay to the picturesque cove of Lulworth, each coastal path in Dorset offers its own unique fossil hunting experience. With the guidance of knowledgeable local experts, you can learn about the remarkable geology of the Jurassic Coast, discover fossils that are millions of years old, and immerse yourself in the rich history of fossil hunting in the area. Whether you're inspired by the pioneering fossil hunter, Mary Anning, or simply captivated by the idea of finding your own prehistoric treasure, there is a guided tour in Dorset that's just right for you. So pack your breakfast for the day, put on your walking shoes, and step back in time on a fossil hunting adventure along the stunning coast of Dorset.

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