Beware of Landslides – Lyme Regis Cliffs

Many schools have broken up for the spring holidays and families might be tempted to take a day trip to visit the Jurassic Coast in search of fossils.  A visit to the beautiful coast of Dorset and to towns such as Lyme Regis is highly recommended, but we urge caution when on the beach searching for fossils as the cliffs in the area remain particularly unstable and rock falls are very common.

Risk of Landslides

Just how dangerous the cliffs can be was brought home to us when local fossil expert Brandon Lennon sent us a video which captures one of the very many landslides that have occurred in the area over recent weeks.  In this short video (0:49), taken on Monmouth beach to the west of Lyme Regis heading towards the county of Devon, rocks and debris can be seen tumbling onto the beach within just a few yards of bystanders.

Landslide at Monmouth Beach (Lyme Regis)

Video credit: Brandon Lennon

We are grateful to Brandon for sending Everything Dinosaur this video and we recommend staying away from the cliffs along the Dorset coast.  When it comes to fossil collecting, we advise that visitors to the Lyme Regis area look for fossils on a falling tide and to search around the tide line where the sea will have washed off mud and clay from rocks exposing a lot of potential fossil material.

Take advantage of a the help and advice of a professional fossil collector by going on an organised fossil collecting walk for further information: Lyme Regis Fossil Walks.

In addition, here are some hints and tips to help fossil hunters keep safe whilst out fossil collecting on the beaches around Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

  • Always stay away from the cliffs
  • Do not climb on the cliffs or any recent landslips/mudflows
  • Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you are expected back
  • Have a mobile phone handy in case of emergencies
  • Beware of the threat of landslides, especially during or just after bad weather
  • Note the tide times particularly high tide and take the advice of the local coastguard etc.
  • Aim to collect fossils on a falling tide, be aware of the incoming tide especially around headlands where you could easily get cut off
  • In rough weather, be aware of strong winds and high waves and the fact that the footing underneath might be treacherous
  • Wear suitable clothing and shoes

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