Friday 8 April 2005

Fossils In Dorset

On short noticed, Jenny planned a holiday for us down in Dorset for four nights over the Easter break (2005). The primary attraction was to take the kids and explore the Jurrasic Coast.

Day 1

It was an easy 2 1/2 hours drive to get down to Dorchester. The hard part was the packing beforehand. Nevertheless, we soon found ourselve pouring into Flintcombe cottage at Greenwood Grange Farm Cottages. It was a lovely big clean cottage that easily accommodated us. Again, this was another successful choice from the Premier Cottages catalogue.

It was only about three o'clock so we went and checked out the games room, gym, swimming pool and tennis courts before heading out for a walk in the nearby woods. We walked by the remains of an old Roman road, let the kids climb some tree's and threw handfuls of dead leaves at each other. The path also led us past the cottage where Thomas Hardy was born and raised.

Dinner at a local pub was a bit of a disappointment. The pub was nice but the food rated a 5 out of 10.

Day 2

We got out of the house by 9 in order to make it to Charmouth to catch a 10 o'clock guided fossil walk. It started with a talk about what we could find and our guide showed us lots of examples of fossils that had been found. Our chief prey was ammonites. The large group of us marched up to the west end of the beach where there was little danger of a cliff collapsing on us and spent the next two hours combing the beach.

We were all succesful in finding ammonites and belamintes.

We ate our picnic out of the back of the car trying to shelter out of the cold wind before driving back towards Dorchester. In Dorchester, we stopped at Maiden Castle. R* had been learning all about it and proved to be a fine guide. Maiden Castle was the biggest iron age earthworks in it's time and reined supreme until the Roman finally overran it.

Back at the cottage, we enjoyed the Romanesque swimming pool before having our dinner in that night.

Day 3

Woke up to a windy, rainy day. Jenny and her brother John went to visit the market while I stayed back with the kids. I tucked myself into a book and the kids got very, very bored.

It cleared up in the middle of the afternoon but there wasn't much of the day left. We drove down to Lulworth cove where we had heard there was a Jurassic forest. Unfortunately, to reach it you had to cross a firing range and it was open that day. The kids were thrilled just to muck about on the beach.

John bought a kite and he and the kids attempted to fly it with not a lot of luck.

Day 4

Again it was a rather dreary day but that didn't stop us heading over to Lyme Regis to have a bout of poking around rock pools. There was actually a guided walk we had originally intended on joining but decide it didn't offer much value for the money.

We had another car picnic with us and attempted to drive around to find somewhere a bit scenic to have it. Wound up on the sea front of Seaton huddled around a bench shivering in the wind eating our sandwiches. Ok, so April isn't a great time of year to attempt having picnics!

Back at the cottage, we enjoyed a last dip in the pool.

Day 5

Cleared out of the cottage by 10 o'clock and drove off to find something to visit before heading home.

We first stopped at Monkey World since that was the children's first choice. However, all the adults agreed they had no desire to spend £30 to see monkeys and vetoed going in. We went to the Tank Museum instead since it was very close by. I really think the Tank Museum was well done.

Then it was onto the A31 and a quick drive home.

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