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Chapmans Pool fossils and fossil collecting

Drive to Worth Matravers. You will pass a car park with toilets. Continue through the village all the way until the road passes a farm. Keep going and you will then see another car park.
Park here and follow the footpath to Chapman’s Pool. It is a very long walk down. Once on the beach, head west.
There is now a new footpath down to the sea that avoids the old slippery and steep slope, which was quite dangerous. This location is not easy to access and is only recommended for the more serious fossil hunter.

GRID REF: 50.59544°N, 2.04745°W

ammonites, reptiles, molluscs
Fossil Collecting at Chapmans Pool

Chapman’s Pool is rich in Upper Jurassic ammonites, reptiles and shells. It is a very long walk down to the beach, but the fossils are often rewarding. It is best to visit during summer months when the sea is not so rough.
Where is it

Fairly High

Chapman’s Pool has yielded more reptile remains than any other Kimmeridge Clay location in the UK. It also has some excellent ammonites, but most of these are found between Kimmeridge Bay and Chapman’s Pool. This stretch of the coastline is often too dangerous for most people to visit, so this guide concentrates on the pool. There are still some lovely fossils to be found here, but hammering on the bedrock and cliffs is not allowed.

Not for children


The site can be very dangerous for collecting fossils due to the tide and regular cliff falls. Therefore, it is not recommended for children.

Very Poor Access


This is a remote location, but is fairly easy to find and has its own car park. However, if you are planning to walk from Chapman’s Pool to the more productive beds at Freshwater Steps, be aware that those locations are some of the hardest in Dorset to access. At some headlands along the coastline, the sea does not actually retreat fully, so you would have to take your shoes and socks off to get past. This can be very dangerous and we do not recommend it.

Cliff and Foreshore


Fossils can be found on the foreshore or within the cliff face. However, collecting from the cliff face is dangerous and not recommended, but fossils can be collected from the foreshore, especially in areas of shingle.

No Hammers


This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline. Please follow the Fossil Code of Conduct. Access is permitted SSSI -


The cliffs are so dangerous that the slightest noise can cause a cliff fall, fossils are found washed up on the foreshore and so hammers are not required.

West of Chapman’s Pool is one of the most dangerous places to collect along the Dorset coast. The tides always reach the base of the cliff and you can easily become cut off. The walk is also a long way around several headlands. Therefore, it is essential that you check and double check tide times before you go. Also be aware of double tides. If you plan the whole walk from Chapman’s Pool to Kimmeridge Bay, you will have little time to collect and should try to reach your final destination before the tide starts to turn. The tides come in very quickly.

Falling shale is frequent. Therefore, hard hats should be worn at all times and you should try to keep away from the base of the cliff. Hammers are not allowed to be used on the cliff or bedrock at Chapman’s Pool. If you do take a hammer, be warned that breaking rocks may cause rocks and shale to fall from the cliff.

Chapmans Pool
Tide Times


UK Tidal data is owned by Crown Copyright, and therefore sadly we are not allowed to display tide times without paying expensive annual contracts. However we sell them via our store, including FREE POSTAGE
Click here to buy a tide table


Higher Spence

Farm Cottage, beautiful location 3 miles Charmouth. Double and Family rooms En Suite.

Contact: Christine Nutkins
Tel: UK (01297) 560556
Tel: International +441297 560556 Address: Higher Spence, Wootton, Fitzpaine, Charmouth, Dorset.

Email: Website: (Typing "Higher Spence into your search engine)

Dorset coastal cottages

We are a holiday agent for 120 carefully selected and inspected cottages within 10 miles of Dorset's spectacular World Heritage Coast and Path. All are old, many are beamy and thatched, most have open fires or logburners plus central heating. Rents include electricity, gas etc. and all linen/towels.

Rentable by the week or 3 day Short Break all year round!!

Please call: 0800 9804070 for a Brochure or visit our website on

Jennifer Owens Direct:
01305 851033

If you would like to advertise on this page, please 'contact us'.
£10/Year or 'FREE' for return links from accommodation website pages.

Last updated:  2008
last visited:  2008
Written by:  Alister and Alison Cruickshanks
Edited by:  Jon Trevelyan

Other Locations

Other locations with Kimmeridge Clay are, Chapmans Pool, Kimmeridge Bay, Lothbeg, Portgower, Helmsdale, Balintore and Eathie, in Scotland, or Wyke Regis, Bowleaze Cove and Ringstead in Dorset.

Location Photos

Fossil Collecting
Your Reports

This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline, so follow the Fossil Code of Conduct. This is an SSSI, so the use of hammers on the bedrock and cliffs is not allowed. In addition, the cliffs are extremely dangerous, so collecting directly from them is extremely inadvisable. However, fossils are found washed up on the foreshore and so hammers are not required.

The ammonite, Pavlovia rotunda can also be found flattened in the foreshore clays. We do not recommend collecting this ammonite, as it is too fragile and best left for others to see. Instead, try to find nodules (Rotunda Nodules), as these can contain superb ammonites, but these are not a common as they once were. However, large ammonites have been found loose, which have fallen out of boulders and many fragments can lie scattered along the beach.

If you carry on to Freshwater Steps, which is about 2.5km from the pool, the foreshore and cliff yields the crinoid Saccocoma, which is pyritised. Freshwater Steps is equal distance between Chapman’s Pool and Kimmeridge Bay. In the cliffs, many reptilian remains, including plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, crocodiles, pterosaurs and chelonians, have been found here.

Searching for fossils at Chapmans Pool
Searching for fossils at Chapmans Pool

Geology Guide Jurassic, 150mya

When walking down the footpath from the car park at Chapman’s Pool and over the field, you may notice some yellow/white rock fragments scattered along the fields. This is Portland Stone, which forms the crest of nearby Hounstout Cliff. The rock sequence at Chapman’s Pool, which is Upper Jurassic in age, is as follows. At the base of the cliff is Blake’s Bed 2. Above this are the Rotunda Shales, which contain the ammonite Pavlovia rotunda. Theseare from the Pavlovia Zone and there once were plenty of these, but they do not seem to be as common as they once were. Above the Rotunda Shales are the Rhynchonella Marls, which are capped by the Hounstout Clay...[more]

Flat ammonite Pavlovia rotunda common at Chapmans Pool
Flat ammonite Pavlovia rotunda common at Chapmans Pool

Ammonite from Chapmans Pool
Ammonite from Chapmans Pool

ichthyosaurs Vertebrae

The use of hammers on the bedrock and cliffs is not allowed. Hard hats should be worn at all times, as the cliffs are unstable. Take plenty of drink and food, if planning the full walk.

Stone Tumblers
Geological Supplies

If you are interested in fossil collecting, then you may also be interested in a stone tumbler (Lapidary). You can polish stones and rocks from the beach which will look fantastic polished using a stone tumbler.

You can polish rough rock and beach glass whilst collecting fossils, on those days where you come back empty handed. These are all high quality machines to give a professional finish to your samples. They can even be used for amber and fossils.

At most locations, you can find microfossils. You only need a small sample of the sand. You then need to wash it in water and sieve using a test sieve. Once the sand is processed, you can then view the contents using a microscope.

We have a wide range of microscopes for sale, you will need a Stereomicroscope for viewing microfossils. The best one we sell is the IMXZ, but a basic microscope will be fine. Once you have found microfossils, you will need to store these microfossils.

UKGE, the owners of UK Fossils, are your market leader for Geological Supplies and Geology Equipment. Suppling Retail, Education and Trade in the UK, Europe and beyond.

We sell a wide range of geological hammer and geological picks as well as fossil tools, starter packs and geological chisels.

UKGE is your geological superstore, selling a wide range of field equipment, rocks, minerals, fossils, geological and even microscopy!

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(C)opyright 2008 - UKGE Limited, UK Fossils Network and Deposits Magazine, all rights reserved.
While we (UKGE/UK Fossils) try to ensure that the content of this location guide is accurate and up to date, we cannot and do not guarantee this. Nor can we be held liable for any loss or injury caused by or to a person visiting this site. Remember: this is only a location guide and the responsibility remains with the person or persons making the visit for their own personal safety and the safety of their possessions. That is, any visit to this location is of a personal nature and has not been arranged or directly suggested by UK Fossils. In addition, we recommend visitors get their own personal insurance cover. Please also remember to check tide times and rights of way (where relevant), and to behave in a responsible and safe manner at all times (for example, by keeping away from cliff faces and mud).
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