Fossil Forest Access

Project Updates

April 2019

Vertical Technology Ltd have installed the rock netting and catch fence while the area was accessible over the Easter Holidays. The site is now ready for the damaged steps and railings to be repaired during the summer school holidays. Work is also happening on the design of interpretation for the site.


January 2019

Planned works for the Fossil Forest access are still on schedule as shown below in the October update.

Vertical Technology Ltd will be at Fossil Forest over the Easter holidays from the 8th to 18th April to fit netting over the cliff face and a catch fence to catch any falling rocks which will protect the new steps. Dorset Highways will be constructing the new steps and railings over the summer holidays from 27th July to 3rd September.

Updated visitor information will be installed by the entrance of Fossil Forest together with a seating area for visitors to enjoy the view whilst learning about Fossil Forest. This interpretation is being developed by a specialised team and will be installed over the summer along-side the construction works. You can see drone footage of Fossil Forest on display at the Lulworth Heritage Centre.

Fossil Forest will be open to explore in Autumn 2019.


October 2018

Improvement works to protect the site and reconstruct the steps are now confirmed to be carried out when the ranges are open over Easter and Summer 2019:

  • April - MOD to carry out an Exploded Ordnance Clearance (EOC) before any construction work takes place on site.
  • 8th April – Vertical Technologies Ltd to net the existing rock face next to the steps with a catch fence fitted to protect the steps.
  • April – Dorset Highways to start fixing posts and rails at the top section of the steps.
  • July-August – Dorset Highways to continue fixing posts and rails and complete reconstruction of the steps by 3rd September.
  • August – interpretation installation.

The proposed plan of the new steps to access to Fossil Forest can be viewed here.


July 2018

A significant rockfall in March 2018 has caused delays. A joint decision has been made by stakeholders to net the rock and install a catch fence. The MoD will need to carry out an Exploded Ordnance Clearance Final before this work takes place. Due to these unforeseen delays, the reconstruction of the steps and railings are now due to take place when the ranges are open during Easter and Summer 2019, with a reopening thereafter.

Project Background

Fossil Forest is an important geological site on the Jurassic coast located east of Lulworth Cove. This rocky ledge known as Fossil Forest shows exposed evidence of a forest which grew here around 145 million years ago, when the Jurassic period drew to a close and sea levels were falling. Shallow tropical seas gave way to coastal plains and for a brief period a forest grew here. Strange rounded shapes can be seen at the Fossil Forest known as 'algal burrs' which are the fossilised remains of where the tree trunks once stood.

The Fossil Forest Welcome Hub project aims to repair the steps leading from the South West Coast Path National Trail to the Fossil Forest. Access to the Fossil Forest is currently closed following a rock fall in 2015 that damaged the steps leading down from the Coast Path onto the rock shelf area of the Fossil Forest. The Coast Path is unaffected and this section can still be walked when the ranges are open.

Repairing and reopening the access steps to the Fossil Forest is part of the ‘Coastal Connections - people and places’ project funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, and will receive £120,000 towards its costs from this successful bid, granted in April 2017. The remainder of the funding, around £52,000 is being provided by Lulworth Estate, Ministry of Defence and Dorset County Council.

The project partner leading on this project is Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty/Jurassic Coast Trust and will be developing the project in partnership with the Lulworth Estate , the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Dorset County Council, the Arts Development Company, Aileen Shackell Landscape Design and Dorset Coast Forum.

The Fossil Forest forms a fundamental part of the Jurassic Coast's walk through time story. Access to the site, new interpretation and information about the Fossil Forest will also be installed to allow people the opportunity to enjoy, explore and learn from this special part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Construction work started in August 2017 to start making the area safer but ongoing works will be limited to only being carried out when the Ministry of Defence ranges are open.





Project Updates

April 2019

Vertical Technology Ltd have installed the rock netting and catch fence while the area was accessible over the Easter Holidays. The site is now ready for the damaged steps and railings to be repaired during the summer school holidays. Work is also happening on the design of interpretation for the site.


January 2019

Planned works for the Fossil Forest access are still on schedule as shown below in the October update.

Vertical Technology Ltd will be at Fossil Forest over the Easter holidays from the 8th to 18th April to fit netting over the cliff face and a catch fence to catch any falling rocks which will protect the new steps. Dorset Highways will be constructing the new steps and railings over the summer holidays from 27th July to 3rd September.

Updated visitor information will be installed by the entrance of Fossil Forest together with a seating area for visitors to enjoy the view whilst learning about Fossil Forest. This interpretation is being developed by a specialised team and will be installed over the summer along-side the construction works. You can see drone footage of Fossil Forest on display at the Lulworth Heritage Centre.

Fossil Forest will be open to explore in Autumn 2019.


October 2018

Improvement works to protect the site and reconstruct the steps are now confirmed to be carried out when the ranges are open over Easter and Summer 2019:

  • April - MOD to carry out an Exploded Ordnance Clearance (EOC) before any construction work takes place on site.
  • 8th April – Vertical Technologies Ltd to net the existing rock face next to the steps with a catch fence fitted to protect the steps.
  • April – Dorset Highways to start fixing posts and rails at the top section of the steps.
  • July-August – Dorset Highways to continue fixing posts and rails and complete reconstruction of the steps by 3rd September.
  • August – interpretation installation.

The proposed plan of the new steps to access to Fossil Forest can be viewed here.


July 2018

A significant rockfall in March 2018 has caused delays. A joint decision has been made by stakeholders to net the rock and install a catch fence. The MoD will need to carry out an Exploded Ordnance Clearance Final before this work takes place. Due to these unforeseen delays, the reconstruction of the steps and railings are now due to take place when the ranges are open during Easter and Summer 2019, with a reopening thereafter.

Project Background

Fossil Forest is an important geological site on the Jurassic coast located east of Lulworth Cove. This rocky ledge known as Fossil Forest shows exposed evidence of a forest which grew here around 145 million years ago, when the Jurassic period drew to a close and sea levels were falling. Shallow tropical seas gave way to coastal plains and for a brief period a forest grew here. Strange rounded shapes can be seen at the Fossil Forest known as 'algal burrs' which are the fossilised remains of where the tree trunks once stood.

The Fossil Forest Welcome Hub project aims to repair the steps leading from the South West Coast Path National Trail to the Fossil Forest. Access to the Fossil Forest is currently closed following a rock fall in 2015 that damaged the steps leading down from the Coast Path onto the rock shelf area of the Fossil Forest. The Coast Path is unaffected and this section can still be walked when the ranges are open.

Repairing and reopening the access steps to the Fossil Forest is part of the ‘Coastal Connections - people and places’ project funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, and will receive £120,000 towards its costs from this successful bid, granted in April 2017. The remainder of the funding, around £52,000 is being provided by Lulworth Estate, Ministry of Defence and Dorset County Council.

The project partner leading on this project is Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty/Jurassic Coast Trust and will be developing the project in partnership with the Lulworth Estate , the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Dorset County Council, the Arts Development Company, Aileen Shackell Landscape Design and Dorset Coast Forum.

The Fossil Forest forms a fundamental part of the Jurassic Coast's walk through time story. Access to the site, new interpretation and information about the Fossil Forest will also be installed to allow people the opportunity to enjoy, explore and learn from this special part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Construction work started in August 2017 to start making the area safer but ongoing works will be limited to only being carried out when the Ministry of Defence ranges are open.