Aber Geology Group – Lyme Regis Trip 2009:

Aber Geology Group – Lyme Regis Trip 2009

in association with

Lyme Regis Museum

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September 2009


Richard & Barbara Bull

Royal Lion Hotel (30 rooms – 2 stars privately owned)
Broad St, Lyme Regis (www.royallionhotel.com) tel 01297 445622.

This chosen hotel is central, takes dogs, has a swimming pool and a secured car park and is part of the history of Lyme. Being an historic coaching inn, it would have been frequented by all the important people from Lyme’s history, no doubt including the likes of Buckland, Conybeare, de la Beche (who lived a few doors up), Jane Austen and more recently, John Fowles.

Getting There

Travel to Lyme Regis by public transport is relatively easy from London – take SW Trains from Waterloo to Axminster via Woking (for Heathrow coach connection), Salisbury (roughly every two hours, with some extras) and get the connecting (hourly even on Sundays) 31 bus to Lyme, which stops in Broad Street. You can book through including the bus journey, so they say. In reverse, the same 31 bus connects at Dorchester with half-hourly SW Trains from Bournemouth, Woking, Southampton and London, but with a much longer bus ride. On Friday evenings seat reservations on the trains are recommended.

The best approach from London is by the M3/A303, not via the Southampton – Bournemouth conurbation. Even so, the A303 has some single carriageway sections and there is usually a queue at the end of each dual section.

Maybe your journey won’t be as interesting as the Geologists’ Association in 1889, before the Axminster & Lyme Regis Light Railway was opened in 1903 (closed by Dr Beeching!)

Arriving at Lyme Regis

Provisional Timetable


Gather 7pm for dinner. Briefing after dinner in hotel

Saturday: (low tide 13.00 BST, 0.4m, high tide 20.02, 4.6m)

09.00 Gather at Lyme Regis Museum (£3) and meet museum geologist and Lyme fossil collector Paddy Howe for view of collections including recent reptile finds. I will give a brief talk on the giants of geology who came from Lyme (and Axminster) and who formed a co-operative group in the early C18th: Professor William Buckland, Sir Henry de la Beche, Mary Anning and Dean William Daniel Conybeare. Coffee will be served at the Museum, before walking west towards Pinhay Bay fossiliferous Blue Lias and the White Lias – the T/J boundary.

Problems to consider:

· The origin of the layering in the Blue Lias
· The origin of cone-in-cone structures and “Sunstones” in particular
· Slump structures in the White Lias (Rhaetic or top-most Triassic)

Lunch at pubs around the Cobb (Lyme Regis Harbour).

After lunch walk out to the end of the Cobb to view the landslips either side of the town and discuss what can be done to save Lyme Regis from unstable cliffs and rising sea levels. Walk around the Bay to view the Black Ven landslips and discuss the proposed land stabilisation work on Church Cliffs. As the tide will now prevent access below Church Cliffs, rest of the afternoon free to re-visit the Museum, visit fossil shops or whatever.

Health & Safety Advice: beware falling rocks from Blue Lias (hard hats are advised if you intend to stand directly under the cliff, which you have to do to see sedimentary structures), rough beach walking over boulders (stout shoes/boots advised, there is a real risk of twisting an ankle or falling if care is not taken) and sunburn.

Dog Advice: all beaches are dog friendly except the main beach in Lyme, which is subject to a dog ban in the summer. Dogs must be on leads on the promenade and mess cleared up.

Dinner: at the Lion Royal Hotel, 7pm. Talk. We have been unable to get a speaker from the Dorset and East Devon World Heritage team because of a World Vertebrate Palaeontology Conference in Bristol, but have been promised the loan of a presentation. We can also solve the problems set this morning!

Sunday: (low tide 13.41, 0.3m, high tide 20.37 4.6m)

9.00 Visit the coast further west of Lyme to see the red beds of the Triassic and the Cretaceous Greensands and Chalk by walking from Beer (Beer Stone, Cenomanian Greensand) to Branscombe (Mercia Mudstone).

Lunch at the Shanty Café, Branscombe Mouth.

Walk back to Beer by different route (scope for car shares for people wanting early departure).

Those staying on: visit halite solution salt collapse structures in Mercia Mudstones and karst features in Upper Greensand at Salcombe Mouth and walk on to Sidmouth to see Otter (Bunter) Sandstone, returning over Salcombe Hill to see sarsen stones.

Monday – if anybody wants to stay on, further trips can easily be arranged to other parts of the Jurassic, Triassic or Cretaceous.

RJB ver 17 March 2009.

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