Just to the east of Lulworth Cove, through the gate to the army ranges and then south down steps on the cliff-side lies an exposed section of fossilised forest which has been dated to the Jurassic period, some 145 million years ago.
The holes in the circular fossil outcrops are known as "burrs" - and are the result of fossil hunters removing the fossilised wood itself (www.jurassiccoast.org 2001).
Having regularly travelled to Dorset and walked many miles of it's coastline and heathland over the past 20 years or so -this was a completely new site to explore after all these years.
Whilst we wandered amongst the fossil remains, a family group of rock pipit (Anthus petrosis) consisting four fledged but still downy young flying to shade and begging loudly of their hard-foraging parents.
On the calcareous grasslands above the site; and on the southern slopes of Bindon Hill - out of which fall the sea-carved cliffs of Lulworth Cove itself - we were able to connect with the local butterfly speciality - Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon); along with 19 other species of butterfly including wall (Lasiommata megera), chalkhill blue (Polyommatus coridon), small blue (Cupido minimus), brown argus (Aricia agestis), silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia) and dark-green fritillary (Argynnis aglaja); and a single clouded yellow (Colias croceus).
|view along the fossilised forest route|
|herring gull (Larus argentatus)|
|the local speciality: Lulworth skipper|
|chalk hill blue|