Monmouth Beach (Lyme Regis)
© Philip Jeffrey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The sand and pebble Monmouth beach is part of Dorset's spectacular Jurassic Coast. The beach is located just outside the town of Lyme Regis, and stretches from the famous Cobb for about one mile, to Pinhey Beach.
Above the beach are the Ware Cliffs, which are estimated to be nearly 200 million years old. However, the cliffs here are unstable and visitors should not go too close to them in case of rock falls.
Given the location it is little surprise that Monmouth beach is a great place to look for fossils, with the chances of finding one or more during a walk along the beach very high. There are good examples of ammonites, belemnites and plant fossils to be found here. There is a fossil shop in Lyme Regis which can be useful in showing what to look for beforehand.
Monmouth Beach gets its name from the Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of Charles II, who landed here in 1685 in what turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow King James II. In retaliation, notorious Judge Jeffries ordered that 12 locals be hanged on the beach as a warning. It didn't work, as William of Orange overthrew the King in what came to be known as the ‘Glorious Revolution' a few years later.
The harbour wall at the Lyme Regis end of the beach is known as The Cobb. There has been some sort of harbour wall here since at least 1313, but the present wall was built in the early 19th century. Film buffs might recognise The Cobb from "The French Lieutenant's Woman" or "Persuasion". It is possible to walk along it but this should only be attempted by the surest-footed as it's a long way to fall. At one end of The Cobb is the Victoria Pier, which houses a Marine Aquarium.
There is a pay car park with direct access to the beach, but it fills up quite quickly in high season, so it's best to get there quite early to be sure of finding a space. The spaces are quite narrow. There are toilets by the car park next to the bowling green. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.