Take any rock or stone and it has its own story to tell. Rocks range from thousands to billions of years old so their stories can be very long but also incredible.

With careful study a rock can tell you if it’s been melted, shattered, squashed, heated, dissolved, eroded, buried, scraped, rolled, intruded, erupted or even eaten!

The rocks in the cliffs and on the beach at Charmouth are the remains of an ancient Jurassic sea. They are made up of layers of sediment laid down in an ocean around 195 million years ago and contain lots of fossils. The cliffs around Charmouth are part of the Jurassic Coast, England’s first Natural World Heritage site.

Beef Rock

Image 1 of 9

Age: Jurassic – around 195 million years old
Composition: Calcite and mud (crystal form of calcium carbonate)
Origin: From the layers of mud in the cliff

This rock gets it's name because it looks a little like a beef steak.

Beef rock forms when calcite crystals grow like fibres usually forming flat slabs in the layers of mud. The slabs are easily broken up to pebble sizes on the beach. You can see the fibres of calcite in the edges of these flat pebbles.