"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Holiday - Charmouth and Stonebarrow Hill (Tuesday, 2nd July)

Tuesday was the only day of the holiday when we had poor weather. It was cloudy with drizzly rain.

We arrived at Charmouth in the rain - the weather was not deterring all fossil hunters though some were already out looking.

We had a look round the Charmouth Heritage Centre which has excellent exhibitions on geology and fossils and some rather tempting books on sale. Next door was a fossil shop where again I could have spent a fortune.

Charmouth is one of the best sites to go fossil hunting along the Jurassic coast. The cliffs are main clay cliffs with harder limestone layers. Its best just to hunt among pebbles on the beach where,if you are lucky, you can find ammonites, belemnites, and perhaps even fragments of ichthyosaur bone. The rain eventually eased and we spent an hour searching

and, don't laugh, I was absolutely over the moon to find (just as I was about to give up) this ammonite fragment. Its a rather special feeling to pick up something that is millions of years old and know you are the first person to see it.

For lunch we drove up onto near Stonebarrow Hill. I had been told there were a couple of resident pairs of Dartford Warblers here and, never having seen this species, I was determined to have a look. Well, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack and you won't be surprised to hear we failed to see any.

It had started to rain quite heavily so we returned to the cottage mid-afternoon and then went our for a meal in the evening at a thatched pub called The Old Inn. The meal was excellent and the dessert of Lemon Posset with Almond and Pistachio Shortbread was exceptional - only second to the most delicious Lemon Meringue Roulade I once had at the Tower Bank Arms in the Lake District - all desserts are judged against that one :)


Wendy said...

I imagine you can spend many happy hours looking for fossils there. It's a shame about not seeing the Dartford Warblers; I've never seen one and would love to, too.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - I could have spent hours :) Unfortunately, my family do not exactly share my love of all things geological :) I hope we one day both manage to see Dartford Warblers :)

Countryside Tales said...

We've picked up bits and bobs from Charmouth beach too it's a great place to see the geology and fossils. Perhaps a soggy day is a good one to visit because it isn't packed with people! :-)

Lou Mary said...

Fossils are so fascinating! It is most definitely not laughable to be excited to find one! Likewise with the Dartford warbler, never seen one but hope to one day!

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Was pleasantly surprised at how quiet it was!! Just discovered a pebble Brian picked up appears to have a tiny ammonite a few millimetres across :) Need to find the hand lens!!

Lou Mary - Still very chuffed with my fossil fragment :)!!! So hope you, Wendy and me one day catch up with those Dartford Warblers!!

Em Parkinson said...

No Dartford Warblers for me either! Gorgeous little fossil. I've never gone hunting before but it's something we should do with OB this summer I think. He's old enough to appreciate it now.

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - DW's seem elusive :)

I think OB would love fossil hunting. David used to love looking for fossils Compton Bay, Isle of Wight when he was around OB's age and we once went on an organised fossil walk.

Both Lyme Regis Museum and Charmouth Visitor Centre are worth a visit too - latter tells you all about fossil hunting on the beach. Both do walks too. Its a great activity for children (and adults!!) :) Just need to remember to keep away from cliffs (landslides) and watch incoming tide!!!

Chris Rohrer said...

:) Even if the adventure might have "failed", you still had an amazing meal that you'll remember for a long time:) Those are some of the best bits as well:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris :) The meal was lovely and I'll keep looking for those DW's if/when we return :)