Ammonite – Visit Somerset’s Jurassic Coast

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With the release of the new Kate Winslet film, Ammonite, Lyme Regis and Charmouth are looking forward to an influx of visitors wanting to visit the Jurassic Coast of Dorset.

The film follows the life of palaeontologist Mary Anning (played by Kate Winslet) who, in the 1840s, collected fossils from the beach and sold them in her shop in Lyme Regis. The film is a romance between Mary and the wife of a geologist, Charlotte, who is left in Mary’s care to recover after a bout of depression. Perhaps, as famous is the fact that Mary is also the inspiration for the tongue-twister ‘She sells seashells on the seashore’.

But it’s not only Dorset that has a Jurassic coastline. Here in Somerset’s Quantock Hills, we have our very own. Just north of us here at The Old Cider House we have limestone from the late Triassic and early Jurassic period (215-200 million years ago) with fossils to rival those found by Anning. Some of the earliest ammonites recorded in Britain were found there and a stroll along the breach often rewards the eagle-eyed walker with a memento to take home.

In 2020 something a bit bigger than an ammonite was found by a couple of dogs; a 190 million year old Ichthyosaur. These look a bit like sharks but are classified as swimming dinosaurs and could grow up to 46 feet or 14 metres. Our Ichthyosaur was a mere baby at 5.5 feet (1.7 metres). See BBC report here.

We’re only ten minutes away from the coast or a few hours hike making this a lovely day out. Dorset too full? Come and visit us in Somerset.

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