In search of fossils - The Perfect Sunday Walk

Spending much of my time travelling abroad as I do, it is always a great joy to actually be home at the weekend and be able to grab the girls on a Sunday and go off exploring new nooks and crannies across the Island and also check in with old favourites.

A few Sunday ago we had exactly such a day. Waking and seeing the sun was shining we decided to grab the dog and head down to Brook beach for a family walk and to see how much damage the recent tempestuous weather had wrought.

This is a favourite beach of ours and we always walk along to the south east, towards ‘our rock’, a giant outcrop of sea smoothed stone, that has been the site of many a breakfast picnic and New Year’s day celebration.

As we meandered along the shore, we exclaimed over how much more of the cliff has slumped forward onto the sand, ever eroding. This particular coastline is a mecca for fossil hunters due to this continual erosion, and in recent years the coastal road has had to have much shoring up to keep it open, as large chunks of the land has slipped away into the sea.

Heads down we began to look for fossil in earnest, but alas although the wife found some colourful looking rocks and the girls the usual petrified wood and quartz, we did not find a new species of dinosaur. Unlike local celebrity Daisy Morris, who had a dinosaur named after her having found its fossilised bones on the beach at Atherfield, just along from Brook. Aged just 4 at the time of her discovery, this previously unknown small pterosaur - the Vectidraco Daisymorrisae - is named in her honour. My girls still haven’t given up hope of making such a discovery – but to date we have only a lovely large pile of driftwood to show for our troubles.

Part of the problem with fossil hunting is it is very tricky telling your fossilized worm poo from your strangely marked lump of clay! That’s why it’s a great idea to book yourself on one of the many guided fossil walks that take place along the Island’s coastline, led by a local expert. Checkout Dinosaur Isle, Island Gems Fossil Hunts and the Dinosaur Expeditions for when the next ones are taking place. Or if you are down on the Island over the Isle of Wight Walking Festival they always have lots of fossil walks included in their itineraries too.

Happy fossil hunting!

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