Dinosaur footprint at Compton

Follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs and see where the beasts trod.

The Isle of Wight is sometimes known as Dinosaur Island because of its preponderance of fossilised remains. Many specimens have been discovered along the soft cliffs of the south-west Wight – some unique to the Island.

New items are being exposed all the time, so it’s worth hunting when the tide has exposed the loose gravel and stones on the beach at the base of the soft cliffs. Here you will found the dinosaur footprints, made when a three-toed iguanadon walked in this area when it was a muddy lagoon, about 125 million years ago. The beast’s footprints filled with sediment which turned to stone and it is these stone casts that can be found on the beach today. You might also find other fossils here, including fossilised wood, known as lignite.

Be careful when looking for fossils, as the soft cliffs here are unstable. Don’t dig in the cliffs. If you think you have found an interesting specimen, make a note of where it is (or take a photo) and report it to the National Trust, which looks after this piece of beautiful coastline.