Rock Falls on Monmouth Beach

The heavy rainfall that has occurred along the south coast of England over the last few weeks has led to dangerous conditions for fossil collectors as they search along the beaches of Lyme Regis on England’s “Jurassic Coast”.  The cliffs at Lyme Regis are inherently unstable and rock falls are an ever present hazard for beachcombers as they search for ammonites and belemnites.  However, with the dreadful summer weather set to continue the cliffs are becoming saturated and rock falls and slides are more likely to occur. Fossil collecting at Lyme Regis can be dangerous in this weather.

A Recent Rock Fall on Monmouth Beach

Unstable cliffs pose a threat to beachcombers.

Picture credit: Brandon Lennon

Fossil Collecting at Lyme Regis

Local fossil expert Brandon Lennon reports that there have been several small rock falls in the Lyme Regis area over the last few days.  Brandon, who leads fossil collecting walks at Lyme Regis, commented that the cliffs at Monmouth beach were particularly unstable at the moment and yesterday (July 5th), there was a substantial rock fall with a number of sizeable boulders hurtling down onto the beach.

Brandon stated:

“The beach areas are particularly dangerous at the moment and I am concerned for the safety of visitors who come to Lyme Regis to explore this part of the Jurassic coast.  The bad weather has made the cliffs very unstable and I have already observed one large landslide that resulted in many tonnes of boulders and debris smashing onto Monmouth beach.”

The last major landslide in the area took place in May 2008, with over one hundred yards of cliff face collapsing.  Fortunately, this rock fall took place late in the evening at high tide so there were no casualties, but with thousands of would-be fossil hunters likely to hit the beaches at Lyme Regis with the onset of the Summer holidays, conditions exist for there to be a very serious incident.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“Whilst looking for fossils along the beaches of Lyme Regis can be tremendous fun, on no account should visitors stand directly under the cliffs and day trippers would be well advised to heed the warning signs and take advice from local experts who know all too well the hazards in the area”.

A Large Rock Fall on Monmouth Beach

Dangerous cliffs at Lyme Regis.

Picture credit: Brandon Lennon

One of the best ways to enjoy this part of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is to take advantage of a guided fossil walk where a professional fossil collector takes parties of visitors out to explore the beaches.  The guide can supervise the fossil hunting and take participants to less dangerous areas whilst still guaranteeing some exciting fossil finds.

To learn more about the fossil walks provided by Brandon Lennon (particularly suitable for families): Lyme Regis Fossil Walks.

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