PUBLISHED: 14:54 21 December 2011
Sir David Attenborough has thrown his weight behind the tenth birthday celebrations of The Jurassic Coastline being named a World Heritage Site.
The Jurassic Coast was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 2001, placing it alongside the likes of the Grand Canyon and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, as one of the planet’s greatest natural treasures.
The anniversary will be marked on Tuesday, December 13, with a series of free, guided walks and free entry into Jurassic Coast museums including Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton and Honiton in Devon, and Lyme Regis, Bridport, Portland, Wareham and Swanage in Dorset.
As well as sustaining interest in the area’s fossil-rich geology, the status has brought major boosts for local tourism, business, visitor facilities, and transport and arts projects.
As cliffs continue to erode, internationally-important fossil finds continue to be rescued from the beaches – most recently the 2.4m pliosaur skull unveiled by Sir David at the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, in July.
Sir David said the past decade was well worth celebrating: “The World Heritage Site is an extremely prestigious but well-earned distinction for the Jurassic Coast.
“It is indeed of worldwide importance and a place of great fascination to anyone interested in the history of life on this planet. Let us hope that on this, the tenth anniversary of its granting, we do our best not only to maintain but improve the ways by which we enable visitors to understand its significance.”
To learn more about the coast, and for a full list of the free events taking place on 13 December, go to www.jurassiccoast.com/events
John Wokersien, Town Clerk said: “It associates the town with history dating back 250 million years and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. It also helps make Exmouth an attractive all year round destination, boosting the local economy and bringing employment to local people.”
The spectacular layers of rock exposed along the 95 miles of coast between Exmouth in East Devon and Studland in Dorset record 185 million years of earth history.