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Why I’m walking to the Bristol Dinosaur’s home

A couple of weeks ago I had a call from Pedro Viegas from the University of Bristol,  who is leading the Bristol Dinosaur project with naturalist Ed Drewitt.

He asked if I could go to the university and meet him to discuss the project.

I jumped at the chance. My heart was pounding with excitement as I watched  students preparing the dinosaur bones.

They were using air compression drills, tiny things which vibrate and remove  the limestone rock from the bone. It is a process which seems to take  forever.

I must have seemed like a big kid in a sweet shop because I could not stop  asking questions and touching things.

Pedro asked me if I could lead a walk for them from the university to the  Bristol Downs, which is where the dinosaur bones were found in 1834 – only the  fourth dinosaur in the world to be found.

I said I would love to. I have been fascinated with the Bristol Dinosaur  project and have also studied the pre-history of Bristol for many years.

I have amassed my own collection of fossils, so to be asked to be involved in  this project is really exciting.

The dinosaur that was found is around 210 million years old, from the  Triassic period.

At that time Britain was no more than a series of tropical islands located  where Morocco is today.

The dinosaur called Thecodontosaurus was a small creature about 2m in length  – just a bit bigger than my Labrador dog. It was a herbivore that roamed the  tropical islands.

The geological history of the Downs is fascinating. The Downs are made up of  limestone which was formed around 400 million years ago under the sea.

As Pedro explained, Bristol Limestone is classed as the world’s best  limestone and for many years merchants came from around  the world to quarry  this precious stone to use as building materials.

That continued until the powers that be had enough of the decimation of the  landscape and ended the quarrying. The quarry was then filled in and then the  Downs committee was formed. I am leading “A walk back in time” on Saturday,  November 2. 
If you would like to book a place please email me on  or visit my website .