Our Top Tips for Beachcombing

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What is Beachcombing

This Summer, Lauren & Cosmo have been heading out to Charmouth, Dorset just two miles from Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast to take part in a favourite activity - fossil hunting.

If you’ve never heard of fossil hunting before, it’s a surprisingly competitive sport that will transform even the most composed paleontologist into a frothing fossil fervour when you see those other sand soaked anoraks at the beach car park patiently waiting for the tide to go out. Cosmo has been fossil hunting since he was small among a fossil-enthusiastic family and has recently introduced Lauren to his favourite out of doors pastime. We catch up with the pair of them to dig up their five top tips for finding some serious treasure.

1. Check the tide times

Not just from a safety point of view (noone wants to be scrambling up a cliff in a panic chased by an incoming tide), if you get there as the water is just going out you’ll have a better chance of finding fossils before other people can grab them. Get there early with a cup of coffee or even camp nearby overnight and be the first out on the beach.

You’ll never truly get the same Fossil hunting experience twice, storms come and go and erode the cliffsides so new spots pop up all the time - Lauren

Charmouth, Dorset

 

2. Go gold digging

Look for clusters of pyrite, a naturally occurring mineral nicknamed ‘Fool’s Gold’ because of the glittering finish that makes it look deceptively like gold. You’re more likely to find fossils amongst it, even just settled on top of the sand so there’s no need to go around cracking rocks open all day particularly as in many parts fossil hunting on cliff faces is actually illegal in the UK.

You can find fossils in rocks by cracking them open but we've always opted for smarter not harder, when there's so many to find just lying on the beach with almost no clean up required then why spend all day bashing rocks? Unless you just really love bashing rocks.. - Cosmo

Pyrite

3. Make enemies

Fossil hunting can be a competitive sport - we always go with friends for some friendly competition but don’t let them near your spot if you find a good one!

4. Bag your specimens

Take a bag with you for storing all your finds so you don’t have to worry about losing them, there’s nothing worse than getting home after a day of hunting to find they’ve all fallen out of your pockets.

I’ve been fossilin’ since i was a kiddo with my parents. My best ever find was a fossilized tree stump trapped in a huge rock. It took me and my dad lugging it in a couple of huge bags down almost a mile of beach to get it home. Maybe the number one tip should be pack a wheelbarrow just in case! - Cosmo

Fossils in Charmouth

5. Freshen up after

When you get home, put your fossils in some fresh water and leave them in there for a day, change the water and then leave them in there for another 24 hours. This will remove the sea salt and keep them looking fresher for longer.

Now you've got Cosmo & Lauren's top tips for finding fossils, why not combine your newfound beachcombing knowledge with a camping trip with our Always Sunday guide to Camping.

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