27 Jul 2016

Fossil Hunting and Sea Mist

There was only one morning that wasn't fair whilst we were on holiday in Lyme Regis, which in itself was nothing short of a miracle.  Despite being overcast and hazy, we went on possibly one of the most atmospheric and enchanting walks of the entire trip.


We chose to walk the length of Monmouth beach early that morning, which is located on the west side of town (and right next to car parks should you choose to visit).  The tide was heading out and was set to be a particularly low one, the lowest of the entire week if I remember correctly.

Monmouth beach is named after the Duke of Monmouth who landed there in 1685, in order to try and steal the crown from King James II.  It is especially popular for fossil hunting, as the blue lias clay in the cliffs is chock-full of ammonites, as well as fossilised plants, belemnites and sometimes fossils such a icthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.
I've been coming to Lyme Regis since I was five, so I'm not quite as enthusiastic about finding fossils as I used to be.  Kyle on the other hand is particularly enthusiastic!  The walk was long and leisurely as he searched the shingle at the base of the cliffs, shouting out every so often for me to come and have a look.  I was walking further out across the rock pools, spotting blennies, tiny prawns and crabs.

Despite how many times I've visited Lyme, I couldn't remember a time when I'd walked so far that I'd wandered round the corner of the cliff, to the point where any signs of civilisation were shielded from view.  This day was different however, as the tide allowed us to reach much further than I'd ever explored before, complete with a stunning view of Ware Cliffs shrouded in thick mist.

The strange reason why I'd not ventured this far in the past has something to do with the somewhat morbid history of Monmouth beach.  After the Duke of Monmouth's defeat, twelve locals were hanged on the beach.  My mother, not knowing this, always refused to walk past a certain point because it made her feel uncomfortable and she really didn't like it, but never knew why.  Years later I read about the hangings and we were both totally spooked!
As we soaked up our surroundings, it occurred to me that the Jurassic Coast title felt even more appropriate at that moment.  The landscape felt prehistoric and untouched by humans; it was somewhere I wished I could have spent much longer, however the ocean would have other plans and we would end up being stranded and cut off by the tide.

We saw cormorants and herons perched by the water's edge, along with crows and seagulls and plenty of tiny crabs.  Kyle also collected an inordinate amount of ammonites and 'interesting' rocks to take home with us.
Doug loved this beach too, he scampered from rock to rock, trying his best to avoid dipping even a claw in the water (he has still yet to warm up to the idea of swimming).  He eventually wore himself out and as I sat deep in thought, he clambered onto my lap and we cuddled whilst watching the waves lap against the boulders strewn with seaweed.

After a while we dragged ourselves away, with Doug needing to be carried as he just didn't want to walk any further.
En route back, we walked along the shelves of stone which were dotted with ammonites of all sizes.  Right by the edge of the water are the remains of a long disused railway line, the Narrow Gauge Railway which was built to carry blue lias limestone to be used for cement back in the 19th century.

After having spent about an hour without seeing another soul, it was a shock to see so many people making their way up the beach to search for fossils.  Doug decided he'd rested enough and wanted to play with every dog he saw, chase his favourite tennis ball and actually splash in the shallows as he tried to bury the ball in the wet sand.

By this point the sun was starting to burn away the wash of cloud, leaving me surprisingly grateful that we had got out so promptly on that grey morning.

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5 comments

  1. I love Lyme! So fun and child like searching for fossils too, it surprises me every single time how many can be seen. your photos are gorgeous too! Alice xxx

    www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

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    1. It's just lovely isn't it? Thanks so much x

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  2. This looks like a really cool trip! Spooky about the hangings, I love historic places like this. Your photos are incredible!
    x Kenzie // Kenzieblogslife.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, pretty creepy when you know about the history of the area. Thanks so much! x

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  3. I think I am in love with Doug. What an absolute cutie! L x

    http://www.one-more-slice.com/

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