|Duria Antiquior- note all the poo- Coprolites were a common fossil studied at the time.|
When the geologist discovered Mary Anning was struggling financially, he ordered a number of lithographs to be created, the sale of which was to benefit the collector. Even though Mary had discovered many of the world’s greatest fossils at the time, the science was dominated by men who proved happy to mine her for information, and just as happy to publish this without crediting any of her discoveries.
The Cobb is a large harbour wall to protect the town and harbour from violent storms and sea surges. This structure appeared in Jane Austin’s final novel, Persuasion, and is a real favourite of the author’s fans, often calling themselves Janeites.
Parking: The town itself is small with narrow streets, and though there is a parking lot, it seems to fill up quickly on busy days, so expect to do a lot of walking. This is also true for the shoreline as the city is situated on top of a hill, meaning you need to head through the city, down the main road (which isn’t that steep), and down the hill and ramp to water level.
The best fossil bearing rocks are easily seen. Just head a few hundred meters up the beach where you can clearly see layers of rock along the cliff face that were formed during the Mesozoic, and you’re there.
I can also guarantee there will be people fossicking, so just follow the crowd. Much of the cliff is limestone, itself made from the shells of microscopic organisms, so it’s important to look at every rock, and this means you don’t really need to go near the cliff as you can see things like ammonites everywhere.
This is important to note because, as I said at the start, this area can be very dangerous.
I assume I was there at low tide as the ocean was a fair distance from the cliffs, and between each was a wide, flat layer of rocks that were easy to walk across. There were also plenty or rock pools, leading to me to believe at high tide this area would be underwater.
As I said, I only had a short time, but I was there long enough to find a few hand-sized ammonites, and I was more than happy with that.
There are two museums in town, but sadly both were closed (it was getting late in the day by the time I got back from the beach).