Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

The Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site is England's first natural World Heritage Site - it is known as The Jurassic Coast. It covers 95 miles of truly stunning coastline from East Devon to Dorset, with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth's history.

Objective 5 (Theme 3)

Establish audit

  • Fossil displays and Recording Scheme, Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre
    Fossil specimens are held at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, which provides information and advice on best fossil collecting practice and specimens are displayed here for collectors, academics, visitors and the local community to observe. The fossil Recording Scheme provides a mechanism to record specimens of key scientific interest.

  • Jurassic Coast Museum Exhibitions
    A series of small exhibitions in several museums along the Jurassic Coast, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the South West Museums Hub. Funding has enabled new interpretation panels, refurbished display cases, new display galleries and several new fossil and geological specimens at museums along the coast.

Objective 7 (Theme 4)

Maintain and enhance through management

  • Site management and conservation
    The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team provide geological expertise on the ground for the management and monitoring of the WHS: working with coastal engineers on the Shoreline Management Plan process, research scientists and local fossil collectors.

Objective 8 (Theme 4)

Share good practice

  • Site management and conservation
    The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team provide geological expertise on the ground for the management and monitoring of the WHS: working with coastal engineers on the Shoreline Management Plan process, research scientists and local fossil collectors.

  • West Dorset Collecting Code of Conduct
    The Code recognises the crucial role that collectors play in the recovery of fossils and actively encourages enthusiasts to sustainably and safely collect from the beach. Experienced collectors are guided not to dig in situ without prior permission.

  • Visitors Fossil Hunting Code
    Tourists are encouraged to follow the Visitors Fossil Hunting Code which provides advice on where to look for fossils and what might be found, how to use a geological hammer and how to look after any finds, and provides information on beach safety. A beach Fossil Warden is employed to ensure that tourists follow the Fossil Code and are aware of health and safety issues, and discourages irresponsible collecting.

Objective 9 (Theme 5)

Make relevant to the wider world

  • Fossil hunting activity days
    Wide-ranging programme of events for GCSE and A Level students, and families and visitors are invited to a number of fossil hunting activity days on the beaches throughout the year.

  • Jurassic Coast interactive media - “Take a Walk Through Time”
    Available at Visitor Centres along the coast - an interactive experience (or CD-ROM) including hundreds of images and animations, including animated explanations about the local geology and geomorphology. ‘Take a Walk Through Time’ allows the entire length of the Jurassic Coast to be viewed in a continuous linear image photographed from the sea, looking back at the coastline. Interpretation is provided at key points, together with an animation of how the rocks were laid down, tilted and eroded, resulting in the present day coastline. Elements of the interactive CD-ROM have been compressed into a unique iPhone Application.

  • Lime Regis Fossil Festival
    Activities at the 2009 festival included fossil-hunting walks on the beach, collectors showing and discussing their finds, scientists analysing the past and looking at the future, artists, musicians etc. A team of experts from the Natural History Museum answered questions, oversaw interactive activities and hosted a live link to the Darwin Centre in South Kensington. Coinciding with the 200th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the Festival also included a variety of talks on Evolution, a re-enactment of the Great Oxford Debate and an exhibition of water-colours painted by local artist and ornithologist, John Gould FSC, whose paintings illustrate specimens collected while following Darwin’s famous voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.

  • Jurassic Coast Museum Exhibitions
    A series of small exhibitions in several museums along the Jurassic Coast, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the South West Museums Hub. Funding has enabled new interpretation panels, refurbished display cases, new display galleries and several new fossil and geological specimens at museums along the coast.

Objective 10 (Theme 5)

Use the arts to involve people

  • Jurassic Coast Arts Programme
    The Arts Programme was established following the designation of the coast as a World Heritage Site, to engage with local communities and visitors. The Programme aims to help tell the many stories from the Jurassic Coast and the 185 million years of earth history contained within its rocks, through art, dance, music and performance that is both inspired by and makes use of the site itself. It enables individuals and organisations to develop new arts projects, events, festivals, exhibitions and artist residencies and exchanges, or to adapt existing projects and programmes so that they are genuinely linked to the WHS. Example projects include the Earthscapes Geology & Geography programme, including an exhibition hosted at Bridport Arts Centre (of paintings, photography and ‘land art’), seminars, talks and workshops bringing together artists with geologists, landscape archaeologists and geographers in an exploration of current approaches to landscape. Speakers include exhibiting artists, members of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Team, and staff from the University of Exeter and Kingston University. Also, local artists created and exhibited work that ‘mapped’ the Jurassic Coast through its geology and archaeology. Working in partnership with the Dorset County Museum the artists used the museum’s extensive collections and archive to undertake a period of research to inform the creation of a new body of work following two paths in time through the archaeological and geological layers of history imprinted on the earth.

  • Lime Regis Fossil Festival
    Activities at the 2009 festival included fossil-hunting walks on the beach, collectors showing and discussing their finds, scientists analysing the past and looking at the future, artists, musicians etc. A team of experts from the Natural History Museum answered questions, oversaw interactive activities and hosted a live link to the Darwin Centre in South Kensington. Coinciding with the 200th Anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, the Festival also included a variety of talks on Evolution, a re-enactment of the Great Oxford Debate and an exhibition of water-colours painted by local artist and ornithologist, John Gould FSC, whose paintings illustrate specimens collected while following Darwin’s famous voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.

Objective 11 (Theme 5)

Create resources to help integrate geodiversity into learning

  • Marine and Coastal Education Pack
    Funded in partnership by the Jurassic Coast Team and the Dorset AONB Partnership for primary schools in Dorset. The pack for Key Stage 2 across subjects such as geography, science and citizenship, encompasses a range of topics such as fossil collecting, marine pollution and coastal geomorphology, and includes a ‘seashore discovery box’ where children can see and touch the many different things found on the beach.

  • “Coastal Conflicts” DVD
    DVD resource pack launched by the Devon Learning and Development Partnership and the Jurassic Coast to bring reality to geography lessons in Primary and Secondary schools (KS1-KS3) across the country. Using film footage on the Jurassic Coast and interviews with a range of experts, the film explores the sensitive issues surrounding the protection of the World Heritage Site against the needs for coastal defences.

  • Fossil hunting activity days
    Wide-ranging programme of events for GCSE and A Level students, and families and visitors are invited to a number of fossil hunting activity days on the beaches throughout the year.

  • Jurassic Coast interactive media - “Take a Walk Through Time”
    Available at Visitor Centres along the coast - an interactive experience (or CD-ROM) including hundreds of images and animations, including animated explanations about the local geology and geomorphology. ‘Take a Walk Through Time’ allows the entire length of the Jurassic Coast to be viewed in a continuous linear image photographed from the sea, looking back at the coastline. Interpretation is provided at key points, together with an animation of how the rocks were laid down, tilted and eroded, resulting in the present day coastline. Elements of the interactive CD-ROM have been compressed into a unique iPhone Application.

Objective 14 (Theme 6)

Encourage working together

  • The Dorset Local Geodiversity Action Plan
    The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team are a partner in the local GAP which aims to ‘draw together existing information and ongoing projects concerned with the geology, geomorphology, soils and landscapes of Dorset and the East Devon Coastal Corridor, and to initiate further actions that will lead to: the conservation and enhancement of the geological resource; providing guidance to the planning authorities on sustainable policies in the geological context; and increasing appreciation and understanding of the geological heritage of the area.’