Images for Schools
This page includes a number of high definition images that can be downloaded for use in the classroom. Click on the images to download a high resolution version.
Older pictures of Lyme Regis
People often forget that Lyme Regis was a commercial port. It was used by boats for local fishing, by stone boats involved in quarrying the local cliffs and also by trading vessels.
Most visitors only see Lyme Regis in the summer and do not see how powerful a storm can be. The Cobb has been destroyed or badly damaged several times by powerful storms. The most recent major damage was in 1825. Houses on the sea front have also been badly damaged. Visitors to the museum will seen the long case clock which was found on the beach having been swept from a house in Cobb Hamlet.
In this picture local fishing boats can be seen dragged onto the shingle.
Hydraulic cement manufacture started on Monmouth beach in the 1850’s. Hydraulic cement is good quality cement that sets underwater and does not shrink as it dries. The works chimneys became a distinctive part of the Lyme Regis Skyline. The first works was built in the mid 1850’s but was replaced in 1870’s by a new works to the east which made Portland cement. Unfortunately the industry produced smoke and pollution, especially because it used poor quality cheap coal. This lead to public complaints. The works closed in 1914 due to the war and was never reopened. The iconic chimneys were demolished in 1936.
Bathing machines were hired out by the hour by an attendant who wheeled them and the occupant into the sea. Bathing in the sea was thought to cure a wide variety of illnesses. Machines such as these have now been replaced by static beach huts which can still be seen along the sea front at Lyme. These allow people not only to change in privacy but also make hot drinks or sit and read.
Modern pictures of Lyme Regis
This cliff is to the east of Lyme Regis and is made of alternating layers of limestone and shale called the Blue Lias. This is the oldest of the Jurassic rock layers to be seen around Lyme. It is named for the Church which sits on the cliff above. In Mary Annings time more of the cliff was visible but it has now been covered by a sea defence wall. This was due to the quarrying of the ledges in Victorian times which increased the erosion rate of the cliff.
This picture shows one of the Lyme Regis street lights which incorporates the iconic ammonite design. The ammonite is probably one of the best known fossils from Lyme Regis. It can also be seen some of the local railings and the pavement outside the museums.
There are many pleasure boats in Lyme Regis today but in the past the Cobb was an important port. As ships became bigger the Cobb too shallow to accommodate them and its importance as a trading port diminished. Today tourism and leisure are far more important to Lyme’s economy.
The oldest part of the St Michaels Church is the base of the tower which dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period. The church was expanded and altered in Norman times. A window in the church commemorates Mary Anning, it overlooks her grave. During Victorian times cliff erosion caused the end of the churchyard to start to fall into the sea. As early as 1823 a local gentleman called Roberts wrote of the folly of allowing quarrying in this area. This erosion lead to the start of cliff defence works on Church Cliff. The current sea defences are due to soon be strengthened.
This can be seen in the churchyard just up the hill from the museum. Mary & Josephs grave is on the left side of the church as you face it with your back to the street. Mary died of breast cancer when she was only 47 years old. She is most famous for finding the first ichthyosaur along with her brother in 1811. She also collected the first plesiosaur and the first British pterosaur (Dimorphodon)
Activities in Lyme Regis
Lifeboat week is a yearly event in aid of the RNLI, it occurs each July in Lyme Regis. The week includes many fun events and activities for families and children. These included helicopter displays, fire brigade and lifeboat training exercises, fireworks and many competitions. Among the competitions were sandcastle building and a crab recipe contest.
A display by the Red Arrows formed part of the 2011 lifeboat week. Tragically one of the pilots who took part in the display died after a display in Bournemouth later in the year.
Candles on the Cobb
This event is for members of the public to remember a family member or close friend who has died. People pay for a candle to be lit on the Cobb to remember them. Money raised by the event goes to charitable causes. In 2008 a total of 2000 candles were lit. At night it makes a dramatic scene.
The grand umbrella parade, part of Lyme’s 21st Jazz festival. Prizes were awarded for the best decorated umbrellas.
Ichthyosaurs are a type of marine reptile and there are several different species in the rocks around Lyme Regis. This skull is from a species named Ichthyosaurus breviceps. Only around nine specimens of this ichthyosaur have been found worldwide. The bones are well preserved flattened because it was preserved in soft shale. They are also a bit scattered either because of water currents or possibly scavengers on the sea floor.
This is the skull and front paddle of Ichthyosaurus communis. This is the most common ichthyosaur to be found at Lyme Regis. The specimen shown is a juvenile. An adult animal could be 4m long, some species of ichthyosaur could grow much larger.
This is a close-up of the front fin of the ichthyosaur above. It has many of the same bones as a human arm. Ichthyosaurs were originally land animals. To make more efficient paddles ichthyosaurs have modified the bones in their limbs. They have increased the number of fingers and also the number of bones in each finger. The individual finger bones have also been flattened to create a more efficient fin.
This ammonite is a species called Xipheroceras, the name coming from the Greek xiphos meaning sword because of the ammonites sharp spines. Many different types of ammonite can be found at Lyme Regis and worldwide there are many thousands of species. Ammonites are used to date Jurassic rocks because they are common and evolved rapidly. Some species have been chosen as zonal fossils. They are used by scientists worldwide and each zone species has a narrow band of time named after it.
One of the limestone ledges on Monmouth beach contains the remains of many ammonites. These have become a tourist attraction. Often only the outer coils of the ammonites are well preserved. The middle of the ammonite shell never filled with mud and so was crushed by the weight of the sediment above it.
These ammonites have been swept along the sea floor and washed up against a piece of fossil wood. They are a type of ammonite called Promicroceras. This is one of the most common and prettiest of the local ammonites.
Ammonites can often be seen weathering away in the rocks on the beaches either side of Lyme Regis. Beware of going too near the cliffs as there is always the danger of rock falls.
This fossil comes from a limestone nodule collected from Black Ven. It shows how ideal for fossilisation the local conditions must have been. Normally something as delicate as a dragonfly wing would just rot away. Lyme Regis is one of the best places in the world to find Lower Jurassic insects. This shows land must have been close as insect remains would not survive well in the sea.
The wing of this insect is so well preserved you can even see the colour pattern preserved. Modern scorpion flies can still be seen between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. The modern species even have patterned wings, like their ancestors.
The top of the carapace (shell) is a reddish brown or purple colour. The front edge of the carapace looks like the pinched edge of a pie crust. The large claws have distinctive black tips. Larger edible crabs are found in deeper water, the ones you find in rockpools are normally much smaller
The underside of the crab is much paler. The crabs abdomen is curled under its body. The shape of the abdomen can be used to determine the sex of the crab. The crab in the photograph is a male, his abdomen is very long and narrow. Females have a much broader abdomen. The female crab carries her eggs under the abdomen where they form a distinctive mass.
This crab is named for the soft velvety hairs which cover the carapace on the crabs back. It is the most aggresive of the British shore crabs, this coupled with its bright red eyes have given it the alternative name of Devil Crab! If it is disturbed it will raise its claws in aggressive threat. This is not bravado, it is very capable of giving a painful nip.
The back legs of the Velvet Swimming Crab are modified into flattened paddles which it uses to swim through the water. Despite its swimming abilities it is normaly to be found hiding under rocks. A large Velvet Swimming Crab is about 8cm across, but most are smaller.
This is a small brownish crab, rarely more than 2cm across. It is covered in hairs all over, giving it its common name.
In this species of crab one claw is normally much larger than the other. The abdomen of the crab is visible in this photograph. The narrow abdomen on this crab shows it to be a male.
Unlike most crabs the hermit crab has a soft abdomen that is not covered with a protective shell. It compensates for this by living inside the shell of a dead gastropod (snail). This protects the crabs vunerable rear, but does not grow as the crab grows. This means hermit crabs have to keep moving to a bigger shell as they grow. They are very fussy about finding a suitable shell and will inspect many before they find one that is perfect. If suitable shells are scarce they will even fight over them. Hermit crabs are omnivores eating plant material also also scavenging the remains of other dead sea creatures. You can spot them in rockpools when you see a snail shell move with unusual speed! Most of the hermit crabs you will find are small and can be found in a variety of snail shells. It can be surprising how many live in a single rock pool.
Squat Lobsters are much smaller than true lobsters. They are in fact more closely related to hermit crabs than lobsters. They can be easily identified by their very long front pair of legs and their flattened bodies. When disturbed the squat lobster rapidly flaps its tail, which is normally kept tucked under its body. This can propel it rapidly away from danger, but is less efficient in very shallow water!
Small prawns are common in rockpools but are easily missed due to their transparent bodies and rapid movement. They can often be caught with nets just by trawling among the seaweeds in the larger pools. On rocky shores, like those at Lyme, prawns are more common than shrimps. Prawns have an extension at the front of the head called a rostrum. In prawns this has a serrated edge (visible in the photograph). Prawns can grow to 10cm in length, but those in rockpools are much smaller. They are important as food for other larger seashore creatures.
These animals are found buried in mud under stones or holes in the shale. They have long flattened bodies which are divided into segments. The colour of ragworms is very variable from browns through reds and even shades of green. Ragworms have powerful jaws and are efficient scavengers and hunters.
This sea anemone comes in a variety of colours from reds to orange/brown and green. When the tide is out it can retract it’s tentacles and become a blob of jelly. This reduces the surface area of the sea anemone so it looses less water by evaporation. Like many creatures that live on the shore it is also very tolerant of changes in temperature.
This sea anemone can be found in two colour forms. The most easily spotted are bright green with a purple tip to the tentacles. The bright green colour comes from a green algae that lives inside the tentacles. The algae benefits the sea anemone by making food from sunlight by photosynthesis. The algae also benefit from this arrangement. Two organisms living in a mutually beneficial way like this is called symbiosis. To benefit from the algae the Snakelocks anemone likes to live in shallow brightly lit water. Some anemones have no algae and they are more of a dull grey colour.
This gastropod (snail) feeds mainly on other dead marine creatures. It is ver y common in the rockpools around Lyme Regis. It is closely related to the carnivorous Dog Whelk. The shell has a reticulated (net-like) pattern on the surface which has given the species its name. In the photograph you can see the tube the whelk uses to breath through when it is buried in sand.
Limpets are gatropods, but they do not have the usual coiled shell of a snail. Instead they have a distinctve conical shell and can be found attached to hard rocks and concrete breakwaters all over the shore. They normally attach to sheltered places in crevices or on the edge of rocks. This protects them from being swept away by strong waves, eaten by predators or dried out by the sun. When you see a limpet attached to a rock you will often see that it fits snugly into a hollow in the rock below it. This hollow is called a scar and was created by the limpet grinding its shell on the rock. This wears away the limpet’s shell and the rock, creating a perfect fit between the rock and shell. This is important as it potects the limpet from dessication and predators. Limpets are herbivores, feeding on the algae on rocks. They scrape it off the rocks using a rough tounge called the radula. You can sometimes see strange patterns on rocks which are the feeding tracks of limpets. Limpets compete for attachment space on rocks, not only with other limpets but also with barnacles and seaweeds. This limpet has barnacles living attached to its shell.