Today it’s a working quarry but millions of years ago it was the playground of giants.

Footprints left by a prehistoric dinosaur have been discovered near a Purbeck village.

The footprints, made between 139 and 145 million years ago, are those of a group of giant Sauropods from the early Cretaceous period, which once roamed close to the village of Worth Matravers.

These giant dinosaurs walked in shallow water in a tidal lagoon and moved as a group, leaving a series of parallel trackways.

The tracks were “giant saucer-shaped depressions just a few millimetres deep,” according to Bournemouth University geologist Professor Matthew Bennett, a fossil footprint expert called in to examine the tracks found recently at Lewis Quarries.

The footprints were revealed when the quarry surface was lowered to extract valuable Purbeck Stone, used in building work and housing.

David Moodie from Lewis Quarries said: “It became apparent that we had come across something of historical interest, so working closely with the National Trust and Professor Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University, we were able to move forward in the best way without stopping progress in the quarry itself.”

National Trust Lead Ranger Jonathan Kershaw said: “The group of dinosaurs that made these tracks may be the same ones whose footprints can still be seen in situ just nearby at Keates Quarry just off the Priest’s Way bridleway.

“It’s exciting to think that giant sauropods once roamed where today there are dry stone walls, skylarks and nesting seabirds.”

Using a process of photogrammetry and special freeware – DigTrace – developed at Bournemouth University, Professor Bennett carefully documented the tracks in 3D.

A conservation plan was drawn up by the National Trust, Lewis Quarries and Professor Bennett, and the tracks that could be removed were lifted carefully and will be put on display in the near future. The ones that could not be preserved were captured in 3D before they were removed and this data will be made available to the public once processed.