ORGANISERS of the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival hope visitors will keep returning to the Jurassic Coast after being "inspired" at this year's event.

The festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will take place next weekend at a host of locations across Lyme Regis.

As well as speakers and presentations from experts at the Natural History Museum, the British Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Society - the programme of events will include a 'festival campus' at Marine Theatre Square and a range of hands-on activities.

Festival co-ordinator Heather Prior, said: "We're very pleased with this year's programme and also very pleased with the support I have had from people in the community and the town council.

"I have a band of volunteers who have done a brilliant job. It would not happen without them. We are still looking for volunteers, especially for the Sunday, to get in touch."

The festival opens with its traditional schools events on Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29 when hundreds of pupils will learn about fossils and the Jurassic Coast.

Events will open to the public from the Friday until Sunday, May 1.

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Four fossil talks on the Friday will centre around the theme of geology, environment and sustainability. Hazel Gibson from Plymouth University will discuss how the earth might be affected by fracking, Clive Mitchell from the British Geological Survey will talk about sand and Dr Simon Boxall from Southampton University will talk about plastic pollution in the oceans. The evening will end with 'Antarctic Marine Life: Past and Present' by Dr Huw Griffiths from the British Antarctic Society.

There are five talks on the Saturday, with the theme fossils, fossil finders and fossil thinkers. Prof Richard Herring from the Natural History Museum will talk about mining and mineral production, Sam Scriven from the Jurassic Coast Trust will lecture on Leviathans of the Jurassic Ocean and Richard Twitchett from the Natural History Museum discusses the results of last year’s Monmouth Beach Fossilblitz.

The Iggy the Iguanodon Restaurant, created by Sarah Butterworth of Emerald Ant, is a piece of street theatre which will be in action for the first time at this year’s festival.

The festival’s final fossil talk is at 2pm on Sunday in the Guildhall, where geologist Richard Edmonds will discuss fossils of the Jurassic Coast.

Ms Prior hoped that people will continue to be passionate about the Jurassic Coast following this year's festival.

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She said: "The festival is brilliant for young people who don't normally get the chance to experience this sort of thing.

"We are a World Heritage site, so it is paramount that we celebrate what is out there in Lyme and the Jurassic Coast. It attracts people who hopefully will be inspired enough to come back and enjoy the Jurassic Coast for years to come."

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