Our week on the Jurassic Coast wouldn’t have been complete without some serious fossil hunting! We started early in the week with a trip to Lulworth Cove, a beautiful bay famous for its fossil forest. We didn’t plan very well – and opted to go on a gloriously sunny and warm Sunday after a bit of a lazy morning. By the time we arrived, the overflow car park was nearly full and coach loads of people were pouring in to the tiny village.
Our hearts sank a bit, but we stayed positive given the excitement levels of our dinosaur hunters:
We managed to find a spot on the beach and the children enjoyed some paddling and clambering on the rocks
We stayed a couple of hours, but the lack of shelter and glare of the sun on the white rocks got a bit much – so after a delicious lunch from The Boat Shed, we headed back to Swanage – determined to get back to the dinosaur hunting another day!
We didn’t have to wait long, as we arranged another coastal adventure a couple of days later. In a wonderful coincidence, some good friends of ours from Herne Hill were holidaying locally with their children – so we met them for a visit to another fossil hotspot. But this one required a decent hike to get to it.
The walk started in beautiful Worth Matravers at the Square and Compass pub (as an aside, would highly recommend a stop there for a pie – delicious!).
With the sea in our sights, we started the gentle walk down to the coast. Once again, the weather was perfect for us.
It was ideal walking with another family – between us all, there were five children of similar ages and I think it really helped get them round what turned out to be a fairly long walk. They didn’t notice the distance when they were playing, chatting and running around!
As we walked through the lush, green landscape, we were lucky to see lots of lambs which delighted the children.
Alex was thrilled to get to spend a day with his friend Rosita (who he amusingly has decided he will marry when he’s older!). They mostly walked ahead together deep in conversation!
Although they did stop occasionally to investigate various bugs along the path!
After an hour, we made it to Winspit on the coast and clambered down to the rocky bay.
After a quick snack and drink, the children started the serious business of fossil hunting – thoroughly enjoying the necessary scrambling to get around!
And it wasn’t long before they found an ammonite (or something similar) in the rocks!
Much excitement ensued! (And much relief from us grown ups who had promised the children fossils during our holiday!)
We whiled away ages on the rocky beach, looking for more fossils and searching rock pools for living creatures! It was such a great having the entire space to ourselves!
We found a fair few other fossils along the way
And had lots of fun with the crazy rock formations!
Though we could’ve stayed there all day, we eventually decided to press on with our walk and headed back up the cliffs to the coastal path. It was a pretty significant walk, with lots of uphill as we followed the cliff tops, but the children were amazing and managed it all without too much complaining and no carrying at all 🙂
Our reward for the undulating path was a peek inside a Coastwatch lookout station, where the volunteers let the children view their charts and look through their binoculars at passing boats.
After a quick look in the tiny St Aldhelm’s Chapel on the headland, we headed inland and back towards the pub! It was a good couple of miles back to the pies, but they were thankfully flat so the children managed them easily (with the exception of a slightly stressful few minutes helping Alex cope with falling into a lot of stinging nettles – ouch!).
It was a truly fantastic day and a real highlight of our holiday – I am so so pleased we are finally getting back into walking through the children and am so proud of them all for how well they did!