Some Leads for Geology Enthusiasts.....
This page last updated June 16th 2021.
Those readers interested in the local geology can do no better than consult Dr Ian West's extensive site devoted to this fascinating area. Our focus here is just to give the reader the briefest overview of the cliff exposures in the few miles from Lyme Regis to Charmouth, together with some recent images. A further very comprehensive library of local geology related images can be found at http://www.channelcoast.org/gallery/, by typing in Lyme Regis in their Image Gallery Search Box.
For Dr Ian West's Site Devoted to the Geology of this area, click here....
Image: A Recent Spectacular Cliff Fall.
The Christmas 2015 Cliff Fall, Charmouth East Cliff, Captured by Richard Austin...for more Richard Austin information click here.....
Image: The beds incline down gently from West to East resulting in a time succession.....
In this interesting image above, Lyme Regis is out of frame on the left (a mile or so to the West). So, a walker proceeding from Golden Cap Westwards towards Lyme along the shoreline is, in effect, proceeding backwards deeper and deeper into time. This is because lower and lower beds become exposed, due to the general East-West incline of the bedding shown above. This gentle incline can also be seen in the top left quadrangle of the uppermost image. (p.s. Those interested in reading up in this area could do no better than get hold of a copy of John McPhee's. "Annals of the Former World: Basin and Range". 2000. Farrar Straus & Giroux).
Lyme Regis environs is largely associated with "Blue Lias". [It's worth noting here that the Blue Lias is a part of the Lias Group. This consists of a sequence of limestone and shale layers, laid down in late Triassic and early Jurassic times, between 195 and 200 million years ago. The Blue Lias is famous for its fossils, especially ammonites]. The image above gives some idea of the very detailed bedding. Guided Geology tours may be had both from Charmouth and Lyme Regis. The Tourist Information Office (01297 442138) and The Philpot Museum in Lyme (01297 443370) will give helpful advice, together with the Heritage Centre on Charmouth Beach (01297 560772). The reality of the geological column schematic above is shown, in part, in the image below left. This is a lower blue lias exposure at a locality called Black Ven, approximately halfway between Charmouth and Lyme Regis (O.S. location SY3592). This can be explored at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/484050. Warning: these cliffs are unstable and dangerous and fossil hunting should be limited to beach debris. However, low tides, especially following heavy winter seas or storms, attract many to these beaches and many remarkable finds have come to light (readers may recall the very recent Lyme Regis based BBC1 program "Attenborough and the Sea Dragon", broadcast on Jan 7th 2018). In the right hand image we show the dramatic East Cliffs in West Bay. These Jurassic age sediments to the east of Bridport harbour are composed of the Bridport Sand Formation and Inferior Oolite.
For Current Tide Tables for Lyme....click here....
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