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Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 10:01 GMT
Coast braced for Jurassic tourists
Fossil hunters, Charmouth
A flood of tourists is expected on the Jurassic Coast
Steps are being taken to prevent a rush of tourists harming the new World Heritage Site on the Devon and Dorset coast of southern England.

A large increase in visitors is expected after the success of a seven-year campaign to have the "Jurassic Coast" recognised for its geological marvels.

Plans are being drawn up for a large new visitor centre to cope.

Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael was in Dorset on Friday to hear about plans to limit pressure on the heritage site, which runs from Exmouth to the Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage.

Fossils, BBC
The Jurassic Coast is renowned for its fossils
Devon and Dorset county councillors hope future plans to cope will be supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Tourist businesses along the coast have also been gearing up for an increase in visitors.

The 95-mile (150-kilometre) stretch of shore was granted World Heritage Site status in December by Unesco, the United Nations' cultural body.

Dinosaur finds

It is the only natural heritage site on the British mainland to be recognised by Unesco - joining the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and the Scottish island of St Kilda.

It yields a steady flow of dinosaur remains, including previously unknown species.

Beer Head landslip, BBC
The coast is acclaimed for its geological variety
The coast also includes nine areas considered internationally significant by geologists.

It is considered to be the only place in the world displaying unbroken evidence of 185 million years of evolution.

Dinosaur footprints are found among the spectacular limestone coves and headlands of Purbeck and the Isle of Portland.

Devon's red sandstone cliffs include important Triassic sites at Ladram Bay and Sidmouth.

On the imposing cliffs of the Devon-Dorset border, around Lyme Regis and Charmouth, several layers of geological history are clearly visible.

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See also:

13 Dec 01 | England
Jurassic coast is world wonder
06 Dec 01 | Northern Ireland
Fears for future of Causeway
09 Nov 01 | England
Cornwall seeks mine history honour
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