The Dinosaur Company

We are very excited to be able to tell you some more about  our new partnership with educational designers Wooden Ark. We have teamed up to form The Dinosaur Company and we will be starting to develop a whole new range of fossil and dinosaur related products for retail. We will soon have our own own online shop up and running, and we also hope that museums shops and other retailers will start to stock some of the range.

Our first product is a series of dinosaur posters which we launched at the Yorkshire Fossil Festival, and already Dinosaur Isle museum on the Isle of Wight has ordered some for their shop. These posters are £7.95 each (including a tube), A1 in size and printed on heavy duty quality paper, we are really pleased with them and very soon you will be able to buy them online directly from us. If you cannot wait that long then drop us a message via here and we can organise payment in other ways, we can also advise on postage costs.

We are already looking a future products to add to the range, so feel free to send us any ideas or your wish list!

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The Scarborough News Business Awards 2015

South Bay Rockpooling

Hidden Horizons will be two years old next month (December 2015), so even at this early stage we are very pleased to have been shortlisted in the tourism category of the Scarborough News Business Awards.  The award recognises business excellence, quality marketing or innovation and we like to think that the range of events and activities we offer on the coast are pretty unique and innovative, certainly the feedback we get on both Facebook and Trip Advisor is very positive.

Will Watts, owner and Director of Hidden Horizons said, ‘It is a great feeling to be recognised alongside some other great tourism and accommodation providers by making the shortlist.  In particular this nomination is a reflection the great work done by all the people who have delivered events for us over the last two years, we have big plans for 2016 and further ahead, so watch this space…!’

We are up against some tough competition and will find out at the awards dinner on 20th November how we have done. We are very much looking forward to sharing a table with our old office colleagues Askew Brook and Servertastic who have also been nominated in various categories. All that remains is to find the black ties, dinner jackets and dresses, and of course keep our fingers crossed, we’ll let you know how we get on.

Will at work on a birthday party

Scarborough Strata #8 #9 & #10


We have been a little behind in publishing the Scarborough Strata columns that Will writes for the Scarborough Review Newspaper, so here is a little bumper crop of the last three articles!

Scarborough Strata #10

But how do you know that? This is one of the commonest questions I get asked about fossils, especially the world famous dinosaur footprints that we find on the Yorkshire Coast. Recently this question came up again, but this time when I was reading a new scientific paper about dinosaur footprints that show various features that the authors claim were caused by injuries, deformations or illness in the dinosaur making the footprint. A healthy dose of scepticism is useful in the scientific world so this time I was the one asking, how do you know that?

Any footprint formed by any animal is a very dynamic process, if you add into the equation the consistency of the ground the animal is walking on it can lead to a very wide variation in footprint shapes left by one animal. Many of the Yorkshire Coast dinosaur footprints are difficult to see, and show very strange features such as toes not preserved and bent toes, all of these can be explained both by a normal healthy dinosaur moving across wet sand and mud, or could be explained by a dinosaur with deformed feet.

Currently I am still to be convinced that I have seen an injured dinosaurs footprint on our coastline, but I will certainly be looking even more carefully in the future! If you would like to join us to see the dinosaur footprints then why not book us for a private walk, or join one of the public walks starting again early in the new year.


Scarborough Strata #9

As Autumn starts to take hold the number of says that can be enjoyed on our coastline may be slightly reduced (although as somebody once said, ‘there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing’), so I thought I would short piece giving you some ideas for some indoor geological experiences.

We are blessed in the north to have a number of fantastic museums with some great fossils and geology on display. Here in Scarborough we of course have the Rotunda Museum, originally opening in 1829, it is one of a number of museums of a similar vintage, all of them formed by literary and philosophical societies as part of the explosion in the interest in natural sciences and geology in the 19th Century.

Other museums that were formed then and are still worth a visit include Whitby Museum and the Yorkshire Museum in York. Slightly further afield Leeds, Manchester and The Great North Museum (formerly The Hancock) in Newcastle. So if the weather is a bit grim this winter, either wrap up warm and head out, or hop on the train and do some indoor geology!

Our public events have now finished for 2015, but we do still offer private tours, and school trips.


Scarborough Strata #8

In September we were delighted to be take part in the Yorkshire Fossil Festival at the Rotunda Museum. Last year was the inaugural Festival and we were very busy running around helping to run the event, this year we are concentrated on our own displays and activities. More of what we did at the Festival can be found on this post. We hope it comes back in 2016 and to be taking part again!

Bespoke trips and private bookings

Our public events programme has come to an end for 2015, and will restart in early 2016 (more details will be announced asap).  But if you would like to do a trip with us before then why not consider a private booking. We can do all the trips we normally offer plus a few extras, so if its a rock-pooling trip, a guided fossil hunt, a unique walk to see dinosaur footprints or any combination of these then we can put together a bespoke itinerary for you and your group.

Prices start at £35 per hour for upto 5 people (then £5 per per person after that). As the trips are for smaller groups we can often use venues not suitable for bigger groups, and the times can be more flexible (although the tide is the one thing we cannot change!). We can cater for all ages and abilities, and have done trips for families, groups of friends and walking clubs etc.

A private booking is ideal for birthday parties too. If you are a school or other educational group then have a look at our School Packages for details of these sessions.

If you are interested and would like to know more then contact us here or ring 07964 759433. We have had some great feedback on Facebook and TripAdvisor such as this 5star review…

“Totally perfect family fossil fun afternoon, Easter Saturday at Boggle Hole near Robin Hoods bay, with the modest, but fiendishly knowledgeable Will Watts. He very capably managed all 19 of us, aged 4 to 80. Thanks Will for firing the imaginations of the Pratt family.”  An 80th birthday party fossil hunt at Boggle Hole.


School Packages Autumn 2015

Our Allosaur skull (picture by David Chalmers)

We have been running our school packages for two years now and they have already met with a positive response from both local schools and those staying on residential visits to the North Yorkshire coast. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality service we can, and always look to tailor sessions to specific schools and groups. Download the full school package here to give you an idea of what we do.

Special Rock-pooling offer for Scarborough Schools – Our rock-pooling sessions have always been popular, especially for KS2 classes. We are now able to offer this session to our local schools for the special price of just £1.50 per pupil (minimum charge of £40 per 90 min session), making it the cheapest rock-pooling in Scarborough.

Swinging into the Stone Age – Available from 2nd November 2015  – This indoor session will take you on a journey to discover our Stone Age past, from the Palaeolithic to the Bronze Age (though this can change depending on your preference).

  • Learn how our prehistoric ancestors lived and how they used the landscape around them (be careful, there may be a bear or two…!)
  • Investigate food and find out who or what would have been on the menu.
  • Explore the changes in climate and see how they affected humans and animals as well as the country.
  • Through the use of replica objects you will be able to examine how humans developed and why.

Are you ready to go back to the age of stone? Price £3 per pupil per session. Please contact us below for further details.

If you are tempted by what we offer, then have a chat with us about your requirements, either by phone, o7064 759433 or via (including evenings and weekends), or we can come into school to meet teaching staff.

So whether its dinosaurs, fossils, rocks, soils, evolution, rock-pooling, mini-beasts, astronomy, archaeology or examining owl vomit we have it covered!


New collaborations…

We are very excited about some new collaborations, here is the official press release!
In the footsteps of dinosaurs – three Scarborough companies launch unique new products at Fossil Festival

 A unique new range of products and events with a dinosaur and fossil theme is to be launched at the 2015 Yorkshire Fossil Festival.

Three Scarborough-based companies – geological consultants and event organisers Hidden Horizons, publishers High Tide and educational designers Wooden Ark – will unveil the first of their new projects at the Festival, which takes place in and around Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum from 18 to 20 September.

The three will share a marquee where dinosaur fans and fossil hunters can get their first look at the new pocket edition of the popular book The Dinosaur Coast, by High Tide’s Roger Osborne, and an exciting and informative range of dinosaur posters by The Dinosaur Company, a joint venture from Hidden Horizons and Wooden Ark.

Hidden Horizons and High Tide are also coming together to provide a range of events and publications including educational Saturday sessions on geology for adults, starting in October. More details and booking information will be available at the Fossil Festival.

High Tide is run by Roger Osborne, a trained geologist and acclaimed author, and journalist Janis Bright; Hidden Horizons is headed by Will Watts, also a qualified geologist; and Wooden Ark is educational designers Tony and Georgina Richardson, who have worked for high profile clients including the Oxford University Press and the Imperial War Museum, for which they recently produced a children’s activity guide.

Roger Osborne says: “The Dinosaur Coast was first published 15 years ago, and has proved very popular – this new, pocket edition features updated content and new pictures. Visitors to the Fossil Festival will also be able to buy my other books on geology, including The Floating Egg and Rocks and Landscape of the North York Moors.

Will Watts says: “I’m very excited about teaming up with both High Tide and Wooden Ark. Roger and I have some fascinating events planned for the autumn, including some around the bi-centenary of William Smith’s groundbreaking map of the geological strata of England and Wales – and I’m thrilled with the range of posters which will be the first of many great products from The Dinosaur Company.”

Tony Richardson says: “Designing the first five posters for The Dinosaur Company – featuring a Utahraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Diplodocus – was a really enjoyable challenge. The finished posters are both decorative and informative.”

The second Yorkshire Fossil Festival is again run by Scarborough Museums Trust in partnership with The Palaeontogical Association. For more information, please visit:!fossil-festival/csj0

Hidden Horizons, High Tide Publishing, and Wooden Ark are all based in Scarborough’s Woodend Creative Workspace.

Scarborough Strata #7

One of the great things about geology is that it is visible everywhere you look, even if there are no rocks, cliffs or beaches in sight. This is because it literally underpins all of the world around us, from the forces that build and shape our landscape, to the building stones used for our houses, though to controlling the very soils that we grow our crops in. We are very lucky living on such spectacular coastline where we can see plenty of geology, but it is also interesting to keep your eyes open for some more hidden geology.

The first example I want to give you is our very own Castle Headland. Have you ever wondered why it is there? Essentially the headland exists due to a series of geological faults, active millions of years ago that literally dropped the great mass of the Headland down, putting the harder rocks that form the Headland alongside softer rocks either side. The softer rocks have then eroded more quickly, giving us the two Bays of the town. The geological fault responsible for this movement runs right under the Castle gatehouse, but is has been inactive for many millions of years, so no earthquakes to worry about!

Another classic local example of hidden geology is our local building stones, it perhaps seems obvious, but local villages gather much of their distinctiveness from their local building stone, so the honey coloured middle Jurassic sandstones (the very same age rocks as those that contain dinosaur footprints) of places like Burniston and Cloughton are very different to the villages on the edge of the Wolds, where chalk, flint and brick dominate. Town centres are also great places to spot geology, and in particular keep an eye on the floors of new shopping centres, they are often home to spectacular polished limestones, marbles and other beautiful geology.

We are now busy with all our summer trips, so if you would like to see some of our stunning local geology then visit our website and see if there is a trip you fancy.

First produced in Issue 24 of The Scarborough Review