A seaside village and Fossil Hunters favourite, West Dorset
Charmouth, with a resident population of 2,000 (approx), is situated at the mouth of the River Char. As a popular tourist destination the village population rises to about 3,500 during the peak season.
The history of Charmouth dates back to the Iron Age (between 1200BC and AD400).
The village has Royal associations; Catherine of Aragon, the first of Henry VIII’s six wives, used the Queens Arms in the village as her residence in 1501. The Queens Arms later became and Inn and is now a small hotel and restaurant. Another Royal visitor to the Queens Arms was King Charles II, who arrived in disguise after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
During the 18th and 19th centuries Charmouth was a resort of choice. The buildings running either side of the main street vary in age. Some of the smaller cottages were built between the 17th and 18th century, but near the top of the hill, the houses were built in the 19th century.
The spectacular countryside and dramatic coastline are rich in geological history. Steep hills surround the village of Charmouth. Black Venn is on the west, Stonebarrow Hill is on the east, and just beyond that, Golden Cap, the highest point not only on the Jurassic Coast, but on the South Coast too.
The cliffs on the beach hold many fossils from the Jurassic period and this Jurassic coast as it is known has been designated as a ‘World Heritage Site’. Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is an important visitor centre for the Jurassic Coast and World Heritage Site and is an interesting place to start your discovery of fossils. Identifying fossils than can be found in and around the area.