Thursday, 14 April 2011


When you think of oil and nodding donkeys, which places spring to mind? Saudi Arabia? Dallas Texas? Azerbaijan? Dorset? Eh, what? Yes, that’s right: there is a nodding donkey on the cliff top at Kimmeridge Bay which has been producing oil since its discovery in 1959, over 3 million barrels to date. The oil came about as a result of organic matter buried within rocks laid down on a stagnant sea floor. In fact, such is the geological significance of this place that the type of clay found here and in a band stretching across England is named Kimmeridge Clay. We are still firmly in fossil territory here, and visitors to the bay will no doubt encounter plenty of people wandering around heads down, looking for relics from the Jurassic era.

If you dare to venture down to Kimmeridge Bay at night, be sure to listen carefully for the sound of screaming. Allegedly, the source of this spinechilling sound is the ghost of a smuggler, who was shot dead by a trigger-happy revenue man. If you are really lucky (or unlucky, depending on your viewpoint), you might see a shadowy figure standing waist-deep in the sea.

Map of the area.

File:Kimmeridge Bay - - 579392.jpg
Photo by Jim Probert, via Wikimedia Commons

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