Jurassic Coast fossil warden helps keen collectors over Easter

Dorset Echo: Stuart Godman Stuart Godman

FOSSIL hunters have been out in force this Easter making life busy for Jurassic Coast fossil warden Stuart Godman.

Mr Godman says his emphasis must be on safety but he is also busy passing on as much information as he can to would-be fossil hunters.

Mr Godman patrols the beach from Charmouth to Lyme Regis where he advises on where and how to search for the best fossil finds, while at the same time promoting safe and responsible collecting.

He said: “It’s been a busy start to the Easter holidays.

“While cliff erosion is normal the exceptional winter weather has created more movement than usual and therefore more fossils on the beach.

“With the ever present risk of sudden mudslips and landfalls, my time is spent between advising on better, safer and more fruitful alternatives to climbing and digging for fossils in the cliffs, or sitting directly under them, and helping visitors understand the significance of their finds.”

Mr Godman, who lives in Weymouth, has a diploma in Earth Science has been operating on the beaches around the fossil capitals of Charmouth and Lyme Regis since 2007 when the service was first set up.

The service is kept alive with backing from the Jurassic Coast Trust, National Trust, Lyme Regis Town Council, Charmouth Parish Council and Dorset County Council.

James Weld, chairman of the Jurassic Coast Trust, said: “We see it as a valuable resource given the popularity of fossil collecting, the conditions created by the recent erratic weather and the wish to spread awareness of Jurassic Coast World Heritage Status.

“The work of the warden supports our mission to inspire understanding and conservation of the Jurassic Coast.

“Jointly funding a roaming ambassador who is out there promoting safety, education and responsible fossil collecting meets all our charitable objectives.”

The fossil warden service is available during the main school holidays of Easter, summer and autumn half term.

Mr Godman can be identified by his blue fossil warden uniform and will be happy to answer any questions relating the Jurassic Coast and fossil collecting.

n To find out more about how you can support the trust visit jurassiccoast.org/get-involved

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