Bill Verkaik, Founder of Junior Geo loves living on the Jurassic Coast. After 20 years of working in the oil business in London, Bill and his family returned to Dorset and Bill has rekindled his romance with his first passion – fossils!
We asked Bill to share what he loves about a day’s fossil hunt with us, over a steaming cup of tea and some delicious home-baked cakes.
'The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site and when you come on a fossil hunt you can really see why. The natural beauty, dramatic scenery and the famous golden cliffs make a visit to the coast an experience in itself and that is before you’ve even thought about a fossil.
Fossils are found along the coast in rocks which were formed 250 to 65 million years ago and can be of anything from leaves, shells to small skeletons or bones. I very rarely go out without finding fossils of one kind or another.
Our normal fossil hunting days begin on the beach with a short introduction about what to look for – recent rock falls and cliff falls, the types of rocks to look for and how to use the equipment and of course, safety. Then it’s time to start hunting. Slowly, is the best way to discover the fossils and once you know some tips and practice, it gets easier.
With continued practise, it’s amazing what you start to find, I can see fossil-bearing stones that most other people walk over. Once you know what you’re looking for, it becomes far easier and there’s nothing like the excitement of unearthing a fossil discovery. You get the sense that you are the first person to have seen this creature since it died some 190 million years ago!
What I also find so wonderful about fossil hunting, is that it is an activity for all ages. It’s a family activity, perfect for wet and windy days. The rain creates newly uncovered rocks that are so soft you can pull them apart to find fossils.
We normally spend about for 3 - 4 hours walking along the beach, but you can spend as much time as you want. Some people bring a picnic and spend the afternoon on the beach, whilst others move on to the pub for well earned refreshments!
Don’t forget the day doesn’t end there; you can take your treasure home, clean the fossils and display them proudly. It's a piece of history that you’ve discovered yourself.'
Contact us to arrange your very own fossil hunting adventure, the perfect outdoor activity.