Safety and the Fossil Hunting Code
On the beach
- Always stay away from the cliffs.
- Do not climb the cliffs. Rock falls can happen at any time.
- Beware of landslides and mudflows, especially during or after wet weather.
- Always aim to be on the beaches on a falling tide and beware of the incoming tide, especially around headlands.
- Beware of large waves in rough weather, especially on steeply shelving beaches like Chesil.
On the coast path
- Keep well away from the cliff edges and ensure that children and dogs are kept under control.
- Observe all restricted access and diversion signs - this is a changing and active coast. The signs indicate danger.
- Follow the Countryside Code .
- The best, and safest, place to look for fossils is on the beach where the sea has washed away soft clay and mud.
- Do not collect or hammer into the cliffs, fossil features or rocky ledges.
- Keep collecting to a minimum. Avoid removing in situ fossils, rocks or minerals.
- The collection of actual specimens should be restricted to those places where there is a plentiful supply.
- Only collect what you need ....... leave something for others.
- Never collect from walls or buildings. Take care not to undermine fences, bridges or other structures.
- Be considerate and don't leave a site in an unsightly or dangerous condition.
- Some landowners do not wish people to collect .... please observe notices.
The West Dorset fossil collecting code of conduct
- This applies between Lyme Regis and Burton Bradstock.
- Collectors are asked NOT to dig in the cliffs without permission.
- Important fossil finds should be registered at the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.
The Fossil Collecting and Beach Safety Guide leaflet and the full Fossil Collecting Code are available to download below as Adobe Acrobat files.