In this brief article I breakdown my holiday on the Isle of Wight. Having never visited the island before it was a joyful experience filled with volunteering, fossil hunting and exploration.

It has been a long while but I am finally back with a brief article about my most recent palaeontological holiday, on the Isle of Wight. I spent a week on the island doing some volunteering for the Dinosaur Isle Museum (which was fantastic!) as well as various fossil hunting and taking in the scenery and what the island had to offer. The trip was very much needed and I really made the most of my time on the island over the course of the week I was staying there.

                                            The Volunteering

What can I say about my time volunteering at Dinosaur Isle Museum? The whole experience was brilliant. I have to give a shout out and say Thank You to everyone at the Museum for making me feel so welcome, giving me a tour of the Museum and introducing me to the various activities that I would be doing throughout the week. Whether it be working on fossil preparation, getting involved in the fossil walks, helping with the summer fossil stall etc. As someone who has done a fair amount of palaeontology volunteering over the past couple of years (The Bristol Dinosaur Project: sharing palaeontology with families and children) it was really nice to do palaeontological activities that I hadn’t done before, making the whole experience new and varied.

The Museum itself is laid out pretty well with one big room full of dinosaur models, fossils, interactive exhibits/activities for children and families to take part in. The highlights of volunteering at the Museum for me was being able to do some fossil preparation on large fossilised oysters and helping the Museum staff on the summer fossil stall, selling boxes of fossils to families and children in the Museum. I really enjoyed everyday of my volunteering at Dinosaur Isle, I learned quite a lot in the few day’s I was there and it was great to spend time at a Museum that I hadn’t explored before. I would recommend anyone who hasn’t visited Dinosaur Isle before to check it out, as the Museum has so much to offer! It is an incredibly welcoming Museum with lot’s of history to discover.

Replica skull of Baryonyx walkeri at Dinosaur Isle Museum. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019. 

                                   Fossil Hunting and Exploration

One of the big reasons I decided on visiting the Isle of Wight for a holiday was because of the multitude of fossil localities to visit to do fossil hunting. The whole island is very geologically diverse and as such I knew I wanted to try and fit in as much fossil hunting as possible. Things worked out really well in the end as I was able to visit Brook Bay/Compton Bay on the Museum fossil walk and visit Shanklin and Totland on my days off from my volunteering. Compton Bay was a major highlight for me though. Even though I didn’t find much apart from fossilised wood, being able to see the Iguanodon cast footprints and theropod footprints was a very memorable experience. Alongside the fossil hunting just being able to take in the scenery was something I also really enjoyed, The Isle of Wight is very picturesque and it was really great to spend some time to take it all in on my travels.

Iguanodon cast foot print at Compton Bay. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019. 

 Here are a few more photos that I took across the week:

Dinosaur Isle Museum. Image Credit: James Ronan, 2019.
Megalosaurus skeleton reconstruction on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019. 
Model of Ophthalmosaurus Ichythosaur on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum. This model featured in the 1999 Walking with Dinosaurs TV series. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019.
Fossil hunting at Brook Bay. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019.
Fossil hunting on Shanklin beach. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019.

I hope you have all enjoyed this brief article detailing my activities this past week. I have a lot of university research to finish and focus on over the next few months, so unfortunately this will be my last article until my current research is out the way.  I am aiming to support Jurassic Finds with more articles from October onwards, as I should be able to put time aside by then to focus more on the blog and covering the latest dinosaur discoveries. These articles will be much more scientific in writing with references to journals and articles compared to my past few articles.

Neovenator salerri fossil skeleton on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum. Image credit: James Ronan, 2019. 

I want to say a massive Thank You to those of you who have read my past articles. I was quite surprised to see a massive increase in the number of views in my past article on the Jurassic Mile fieldwork in Wyoming, due to the heavy media coverage of the project fieldwork over the past week.

I didn’t expect to find over 30 views of the article in a day so ‘Thank You’ to those of you who stumbled upon my article and gave it a read. The current fieldwork taking place in Wyoming is incredibly important and I’m hoping to do a follow up article focusing on the progress of the Jurassic Mile project in the future. I look forward to sharing my thoughts about the latest fossil discoveries with you all very soon.

3 thoughts on “Exploring the Isle of Wight

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