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Walk in dinosaur footprints in Dorset – it’s a rare and exciting opportunity! Bring your family and friends, and place your own feet in steps laid millions of years ago.
Keates Quarry is located not too far from the small Dorset village of Acton. It sits in between Langton Matravers and Worth Matravers, and all three villages have their own car parks where you can easily leave your car. If you are staying in Swanage, you might want to walk along the South West Coast path and then turn inland. Chapman’s Pool and St Aldhelm’s chapel are a short walk away and worth a visit too. For those who love quarrying and dinosaur history, there’s plenty to do and explore in the area.
Imagine Purbeck at the end of Jurassic period. It was a subtropical wilderness of coastal swamps and forests, where dinosaurs walked freely everywhere. The footprints were probably left by brachiosaurs. They belong to a group called Sauropods and the largest land animals are included in the group. They were the size of a double-decker bus – can you imagine?
A group of Sauropods left a series of parallel trackways in Keates Quarry, Lewis Quarry and other places in Purbeck. So you can find a lot of dinosaur footprints in Dorset if you wanted to! However, Keates Quarry is where you can find more than 100 fossilised tracks. This large number suggests that dinosaurs used the site as a watering hole. Over time mud covered the the footprints and they preserved as fossils. Unfortunately, the footprints found in Lewis Quarry could not be preserved and had to be moved from the site.
In 1997 two quarrymen Kevin Keates and Trevor Haysom discovered the footprints in a still working quarry.
The quarry has been open to public since 2016. There’s an information board which tells the story about who left the footprints. You can find bivalves, gastropods, fish remains, turtle bones and carapace fragments, mammal teeth, bones and plant remains. And of course, step into one of Sauropods footprint! Admission to the dinosaur trackway is free and open to visitors all year, as it is on National Trust property.
Over the years we found out that some of our guests have trouble finding Keates Quarry. The nearest car park is in Spyway (National Trust) at BH19 3AA. From the car park, follow the footpath South towards the sea and turn right onto the Priest’s Way, heading West. Continue on the Priest’s Way for about 1.2km – the dinosaur footprints signpost is on the right, just past the turning for Acton.
Find directions on the National Trust website.
If you would like to find out more about what you can find in Keates Quarry, read more on UK Fossil Collecting website.
A visit to Keates Quarry is an experience for dinosaur fans of all ages. The whole family will definitely have a day full of fun and a bit of history! Browse our Swanage cottages or other Dorset locations and find your dream stay nearby.
Photos in this blog are from nearby Kimmeridge bay.