The picturesque sea side village of Charmouth is located on the World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast. The Lower Jurassic clays in this part of Dorset are full of fossils that are washed out of the cliffs and left in the gravel and sand to be found by those who look carefully enough. The Centre was set up in 1985 to encourage safe and sustainable collecting of Jurassic fossils from the local beaches. Since that time we have slowly expanded and now have three wardens plus a large group of hard-working volunteers. The Centre provides a large and varied programme of events and activities throughout the year for both the public and schools. We also have a number of ongoing research projects centred on local biodiversity, geology and coastal science. In 2005 over 75,000 people visited the Centre including over almost 4000 school children as part of our educational programme. We have interactive computers, hands on displays and lots of information on fossils, fossil hunting and the local coastal and marine wildlife. There is even a video microscope that you can use to examine your finds. You will always find a helpful warden or volunteer who can identify your finds for you! The Centre has a Jurassic Theatre, where for a small charge (adults £1, children 50p) you can watch a short film on 'Finding fossils at Charmouth' or 'Black Ven; life on the edge'. Throughout the year we run guided fossil hunting expeditions, rockpooling walks, plus countryside and marine discovery activities along the local coastline.
Summer (Easter – October) The Centre is open daily 10:30am - 4:30pm Winter (end of October - Easter) The Centre is open from Friday to Sunday, 10:30am - 4:30pm. The Centre may be closed at certain times if the wardens are on the beach with a school or group.
Admission to the centre is FREE, however as a small independent charity your kind donations keep the Centre open.
All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Facilities and services
- Education facilities available
- Facilities for private functions and events
- Parking for coaches
- Picnic area
- Adult lectures and courses held
- Events and resources for children and families
- Foreign language leaflet or brochure available
- Guided tours
- Member of staff available with responsibility for education
- Object identification and/or written enquiry service
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