Finding common fossils like ammonites is relatively easy on the fossil beach at Lyme Regis. The coastline there is rich with them. In this photo of the cliff from the beach, it is easy to see the layers that have built up over millions of years.
Ammonites are a sort of mollusc that lived in the oceans in the Mesozoic era, between 240 - 65 million years ago. They can be as small as a child's hand, or as large as a dinner plate, or even bigger. There are some very large ones on the beach at Lyme Regis, which you can only see at low tide, when a wide, smooth shelf of rock is revealed that is studded with these strange forms.
In the book, Robert cracks open stones on the beach, looking for fossils. I found the large ammonite in the picture below when I broke open a large stone. Its current function (apart from being beautiful) is as a doorstop in my house.
The bay where Lexie swims looks very beautiful from the shore, and the cliff formations are visible, undulating into the distance. The rocky shore line just needs a little careful attention to reveal its treasures.
My husband collects fossils, and a small ammonite lies in a basket on our coffee table, and I often find myself taking it out and resting it in my palm. It fits exactly, and feels smooth and pleasant to hold. The awareness of its great age makes it easy to put things in proportion, and I pick it up when I have a problem running round my busy brain, to remind me I can go more slowly to find a solution.