Fossil Forest Access


Project Updates

December 2019

A new interpretation panel is now in place at the Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre highlighting the location of Fossil Forest. However, the final phase of works have unfortunately been delayed due to a delay in the delivery of the mesh panels to complete the hand rails. It is expected that these will now be delivered and installed in January with the site opening Mid-End January.

Interpretation panel, Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre

October 2019

Works to reopen the Fossil Forest are almost complete. Dorset Highways finished the replacement steps and new railings over the summer when the Ranges were open, as well as the stunningly located new seating area, using timber recycled from Bournemouth pier.

In September, the Naval Air Squadron transported by helicopter two very heavy, ancient fossil trees from a quarry on Portland to the Fossil Forest. This was part of an Exercise for them, and a real bonus for us! The fossil wood, generously donated by Albion Stone, will help people better understand the Fossil Forest, as there are no actual ‘trees’ at the site.

Dorset Highways have a bit more work to do to add mesh panels to the railings, which they will do at weekends when the ranges are open. We will also be installing a new interpretation panel and safety signage, as well as a nice new entrance sign!

All being well, the site will be re-opened to the public in December!















Naval Air Squadron transporting fossil trees by helicopter & the new seating area displaying fossil trees from Albion Stone

August 2019

Dorset Council Highways are progressing well and are all on plan to complete the new oak steps, handrails and seating area by the end of August before the ranges close in September. Fossil Forest will remain closed until mesh is fixed to the handrails which will be completed over weekends during the Autumn.

July 2019

Construction work to rebuild the steps leading to the Fossil Forest start on the week of 22nd July. Access to the Fossil Forest will remain closed whilst work is taking place.

Dorset Council Highways will be working to repair the steps whilst the MOD (Ministry of Defence) ranges are open during the summer holidays. The project will not only repair the steps but will also improve an area near the top of the steps to provide seating and interpretation panels with information about Fossil Forest for those who might not be able to climb down and back up the 97 steps to see the algal burrs.

Two large fossilised pieces of wood have also been kindly donated by Albion Stone at Portland and will be on display in the upper viewing area.

Any remaining work that does not happen over the summer will take place during the Autumn when the ranges are open at weekends. It is expected the improved steps and viewing area will be open for all visitors by December 2019.


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 (part of the MOD), Dorset 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

December 2019

A new interpretation panel is now in place at the Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre highlighting the location of Fossil Forest. However, the final phase of works have unfortunately been delayed due to a delay in the delivery of the mesh panels to complete the hand rails. It is expected that these will now be delivered and installed in January with the site opening Mid-End January.

Interpretation panel, Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre

October 2019

Works to reopen the Fossil Forest are almost complete. Dorset Highways finished the replacement steps and new railings over the summer when the Ranges were open, as well as the stunningly located new seating area, using timber recycled from Bournemouth pier.

In September, the Naval Air Squadron transported by helicopter two very heavy, ancient fossil trees from a quarry on Portland to the Fossil Forest. This was part of an Exercise for them, and a real bonus for us! The fossil wood, generously donated by Albion Stone, will help people better understand the Fossil Forest, as there are no actual ‘trees’ at the site.

Dorset Highways have a bit more work to do to add mesh panels to the railings, which they will do at weekends when the ranges are open. We will also be installing a new interpretation panel and safety signage, as well as a nice new entrance sign!

All being well, the site will be re-opened to the public in December!















Naval Air Squadron transporting fossil trees by helicopter & the new seating area displaying fossil trees from Albion Stone

August 2019

Dorset Council Highways are progressing well and are all on plan to complete the new oak steps, handrails and seating area by the end of August before the ranges close in September. Fossil Forest will remain closed until mesh is fixed to the handrails which will be completed over weekends during the Autumn.

July 2019

Construction work to rebuild the steps leading to the Fossil Forest start on the week of 22nd July. Access to the Fossil Forest will remain closed whilst work is taking place.

Dorset Council Highways will be working to repair the steps whilst the MOD (Ministry of Defence) ranges are open during the summer holidays. The project will not only repair the steps but will also improve an area near the top of the steps to provide seating and interpretation panels with information about Fossil Forest for those who might not be able to climb down and back up the 97 steps to see the algal burrs.

Two large fossilised pieces of wood have also been kindly donated by Albion Stone at Portland and will be on display in the upper viewing area.

Any remaining work that does not happen over the summer will take place during the Autumn when the ranges are open at weekends. It is expected the improved steps and viewing area will be open for all visitors by December 2019.


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 (part of the MOD), Dorset 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.