Book Review

Geology of the Jurassic Coast.

The Isle of Purbeck. Weymouth to Studland. 978 1 907701 00 9.

This is the latest Jurassic Coast Trust publication, companion volume to the Red Coast (which covers east Devon). This is a wonderfully illustrated book with many annotated photographs, a lot of which are oblique aerial photographs showing the coast at its best. There are also pictures taken from the sea which emphasises that one of the best ways to see the coast is by boat e.g. out from Weymouth or Swanage. The book also benefits from useful map extracts from O.S. 1:25,000 sheets. At £9.95 it is a bargain especially when you remember that proceeds go to support the conservation and education programme of the Jurassic Coast Trust. Apart from one or two quibbles it is an excellent volume and a must for anyone interested in the Jurassic Coast(having, had in December 2011, its 10thanniversary). There is a lot of detail and to benefit from the book fully some previous knowledge of geology is desirable.

The book is divided into two main sections following the pattern in the Red Coast. Section one covers the general geology and works up through the rock succession from the Oxford Clay (the oldest rock unit seen in the section and around 155million years old) up to the Quaternary (the last 2 million years). Secondly there is an itinerary of the coast working east from Overcombe Corner to Studland at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast. The two sections in the book are well cross-referenced.

The book can be used at two levels. First it can be used fairly superficially enjoying the already mentioned excellent illustrations. Secondly it can be used exploring the geological detail which is present in abundance including ‘the latest theories’ on some features. Apart from the excellent cover of the geology, the physical features of the coast are well to the fore. Any student of geography would benefit from owning a copy and not relying on website information which is not always accurate (Ian West’s site is an exception of course!). It should be remembered that one of the reasons for the designation of the Jurassic Coast as a World Heritage site is the coastal landforms (geomorphology).

The text has clearly been very well proof read after writing as typographic errors are rare or even non-existent.

So all in all an excellent book and it whets the appetite for the final volume (Lyme Regis toPortland) to be published when funds allow.

Alan Holiday April 2012.

Chairman, Dorset Geologists’ Association andDorset’s Important Geological Sites (DIGS).

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