Well to be honest there’s quite a few!
One of the wonderful things about working at BBC Radio Solent was being able to pop out and chat to people about their dreams, and plans to fulfill them.
Going to chat to some of the team involved in creating a new home for Dr Steve Etches, MBE’s fossil.collection was always a great moment.
Steve is world famous for the fossils he’s collected, over many years, from the shale at Kimmeridge. His collection is extraordinary and people come from all over the world to study it.
The new home was to be in the tiny hamlet of Kimmeridge. It had to blend in with the beautiful pale stone cottages and serve as a community centre for locals. The plan was to create a small, beautifully formed building that could show off some of the fossils (part of the joy of visiting is it’s not overwhelming) and provide a workshop for Steve.
One of the features that everyone was particularly excited about was a specially created film showing pre-historic marine animals swimming, to be shown on the ceiling of the exhibition room.
The Etches Collection, Kimmeridge, opened in 2017 to great delight and acclaim, winning several important accolades. I visited not long after and marvelled at the quality and beauty of the build and it’s location, was fascinated by the fossils and thought the video, shown on the ceiling was interesting……but last weekend (5th March, 2022), we took 5 year old Grandson….he was transfixed by the monsters swimming above his head, ran with delight to point them out on the boards depicting the different types of creatures. Fascinated by the fossils, loving the chance to colour in dinosaur sheets; put his hands into a covered box to feel fossilised teeth, an ammonite and vertebra!
Thinking of all the careful design choices and sometimes tortuous journey to completion, it was joyous to see their impact on a little boy (we had to pop back in as we came back from rockpooling in Kimmeridge Bay)!
Kimmeridge is off the beaten track and the Collection is rarely overly busy (you don’t need to be very mobile to pop in, or to go over to the lovely Clavell’s restaurant across the road, but the Bay is tricky if you’re a bit wobbly on your feet, although you could have a picnic in the car park…oh and there’s a small charge to go down to the beach). Clavell’s Restaurant shares its name with the tower (viewers of BBC South Today will recognise it!).
It makes for a rather magical day….as long as you like fossils or are just curious about beautiful places! We planned our trip to arrive at the Collection just after 10, have brunch in the restaurant over the road and arrive in the bay to make the most of the two hours around low tide (which was 1.30pm).
@TEC-dorset; @KimmeridgeBay; @judy_goodlet