Part of Sidmouth’s beauty and charm is its location along the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage. The town is nestled beneath majestic red cliffs and with the beaches, the museum and regular boat trips, there are loads of ways to explore the rich history of the cliffs.
Before you head off to Sidmouth, here’s everything you need to know about those iconic cliffs.
- While it is called the Jurassic Coast, the stretch around Sidmouth actually dates back to the Triassic period.
- Which means… Sidmouth was once part of a desert! This whole stretch of coast was a desert during the Triassic, a tropical sea during the Jurassic and swamps during the Cretaceous periods.
- The coastline was England’s first and only natural World Heritage Site. It was awarded World Heritage status in 2001 by UNESCO.
- The Jurassic Coast is the only place on Earth where you can find 185 million years of history all in one place. The site dates back from 250 million to 65 million years!
- The entire Jurassic Coast stretches across 95 miles, starting in nearby Exmouth and going all the way through to Dorset.
- There are several different types of fossil that can be found along the coast, including crustaceans, insects, trees, reptiles, fish and even a few mammals.
- Speaking of, the first plesiosaur and the first pterosaur outside Germany were discovered along the Jurassic Coast.
- It isn’t just ancient history the coast covers, it played a part in modern history too – several sections of the Jurassic Coast became the property of the Ministry of War during WWII.
There are several ways you can experience the Jurassic Coast while in Sidmouth, including following several routes from the South West Coast Path and the Jurassic Coast Path. By taking on these walks you can see some incredible views of the cliffs and maybe even spot a fossil or two! Alternatively, visit one of the town’s museums to find out more about the history of the coast or hop on a boat and see the cliffs from the sea!