Take a walk on the wild side at this year’s Fossil Festival

THE Undercliffs National Nature Reserve, which is managed by Natural England, is a magnificent place, comprising 304 hectares of land-slipped cliffs that form the most wild and unspoilt countryside in southern England.

THE Undercliffs National Nature Reserve, which is managed by Natural England, is a magnificent place, comprising 304 hectares of land-slipped cliffs that form the most wild and unspoilt countryside in southern England. The site is internationally important for its mix of fossils, geological and ecological features.

Stretching between Lyme Regis and Axmouth, the nature reserve is usually only accessible via the South West Coast Path but, as part of the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, two guided walks are available well off of the beaten track. However, be warned that these walks are not for the faint-hearted!

The terrain is very rough and walking is guaranteed to be strenuous, demanding and hard going - so you must be fit, able and in good health in order to take part.

On Saturday 1 May the walk is led by local botanical expert David Allen and will be looking particularly at some of the spring flowers of the Undercliff. Saturday's walk starts at 10am and finishes around 2pm.

On Sunday 2 May the walk is led by Donald Campbell and the focus will be on listening, as well as looking, for the birds of the Undercliff. Sunday's walk starts at 9am and finishes around 2pm.

If you fancy something slightly gentler than the strenuous walks, there is also the opportunity to join local expert Richard Edmonds from the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team to explore Monmouth Beach and look at the wide range of fossils and rocks found there. This event takes place on Friday 30 April from 2pm until 4pm.

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Places are limited for all three of the above events, so if you would like to come along it is essential to book beforehand by phoning East Devon District Council's Countryside Service on 01395 517 557 or 07814 477 422.

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