Black Ven

Most people find it easiest to search for fossils on the beach to the east of Lyme Regis under Black Ven.

You need to walk about a mile out along the beach and there are four safety rules that you need to be aware of:

Some of the rock ledges are covered with green seaweed. They are extremely slippery and you need to be careful walking across them.

The layered cliffs of Church Cliffs are extremely unstable and rocks are always falling from them. In general, there are no fossils in these cliffs and it is best to stay at least 20 metres away from them.

The area is best examined around low tide and it is very easy to get cut off by the rising tide (the lifeboat crew will be very rude to you if they have to come and rescue you). As a rule of thumb, about 2 hours either side of low tide is safe but you need to keep a watch on the sea at all times because factors such as strong winds or heavy swells can bring the tide in faster than expected.

Geology hammers are dangerous and should only be used when wearing safety goggles. Stay well clear of other users as flying shards of rock can easily puncture eyeballs.

From the seafront at Lyme Regis, turn left, east towards Charmouth and keep walking for about a mile along the promenade on top of the new sea wall to Church Cliffs. You can then walk down on to the beach and the first mudflow with fossils is in front of you. This is the best place to look. Get down low to the ground and gaze at the black and gold gravel trapped between the boulders. You will find the fossils just lying in the gravel.