Driftwood patterns: Spalting pattern on driftwood from Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (1) 

You get massive tree trunks washed up at Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis, Dorset. I discovered these patterns on the waterlogged timber of just such a huge piece of driftwood. The prolonged immersion in seawater had waterlogged the wood and the natural colours were enhanced by the wetness, The bark was mostly peeled away. The texture of the underlying wood was smooth. The combination of pores, grain, and black lines caused by the spalting fungal infection, made the trunk and branches look like weirdly stiffened limbs covered with abstract tatoos.

Natural botanical abstract patterns: Spalting pattern on driftwood from Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (2)

Spalted driftwood: Spalting pattern on driftwood from Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (3)

Patterns in nature: Spalting pattern on driftwood from Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (4) 

Revision of a post first published 11 October 2009


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10 Replies to “Spalted driftwood from Lyme Regis”

  1. No way! I sanded the muck off bit of driftwood i found at lyme regis this summer, to find it was spalted! I googled spalted driftwood and this was the top result! Exactly where i got mine from! Thats too cool.


  2. Hi , Jessica, really pleased I found this blog. The driftwood on Lyme Regis beach is just wonderful , so much of it is oak, and I’ve turned amazing bowls from massive lumps from the storms a few years back. Pretty sure it had been on the sea bed as many 15mm worm bore holes throughout.
    I have been trying to find out where all the oak on the beach most likely comes from , but I can’t find anything on uk currents and driftwood. Just wondered if you have any ideas?
    Cheers Steve


  3. Hello, Steve
    Yes, Lyme Regis seems to get some wonderful driftwood, often whole trees and root systems. Unfortunately I do not have any idea where they come from. There are many areas of land slip with trees along the Dorset and Devon coastline but I do not personally know any location where these huge mature (oak) trees are falling in the water. Could they come from across the Channel do you think? Sorry I can’t be of any help but good luck with your search and with the wood turning.


  4. An update ……. Now thinking even further than from across the channel!
    I have now studied the actual species of oak by looking at end grain characteristics, vessel and parenchyma distribution. the are definitely not european. they seem to be a variety known Quercus virginiana, also known as the southern live oak, its an evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States. Many photos of beaches there looking very similar to Lyme.
    So it seems the Gulf stream carry them to our shores. Can i add photos on here ? I have some end grain pics to clarify this .


  5. Here is a selection of the photographs you sent, Steve. The chalk-lined holes were made by shipworms (Toredo navalis) which are not really worms at all but burrowing bivalve molluscs.

    It would be interesting to hear what other readers think about the origin of the driftwood oak trees that wash up at Lyme Regis in Dorset.


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