A stunning photo of a dinosaur’s footprint, discovered on Sidmouth beach in February, is being used to send a powerful environmental message to children.

Fossil hunter Dr Rob Coram spotted and photographed the print, which was made 240 million years ago by a rauisuchian – a reptile that looked like a cross between a crocodile and a dinosaur.

The picture is being used to promote the environmental message of a children's book by local author Jo Earlam, which is being given away to local libraries and coastal litter picking groups. The book, Rosa’s Footprint, was inspired by the discovery of a similar print in Sidmouth 12 years ago. It aims to raise awareness of climate change and marine pollution, encouraging readers to think about their own ‘footprint’ on the planet. More information can be found here:

Sidmouth Herald: Jo Earlam reading Rosa's Footprint to children at Sidmouth Folk FestivalJo is planning to start her book giveaway on World Earth Day, Monday April 22. She will be at Sidmouth Library at 4pm to read out Rosa’s Footprint and present copies of the book for distribution around East Devon libraries.

On Sunday, April 28 she will be giving out books at a litter pick in Exmouth organised by Plastic Free Exmouth. Further donations to East Devon and Dorset environmental groups will be organised, on the understanding that the books are not sold on but must be given as gifts, rewards or competition prizes.

Jo told the Herald: “My inspiration in writing the story has never been about making money from book sales (and I haven’t!), or selling large numbers, it’s about wanting to engage primarily with children in this local area where the story is set, help them to understand the geological significance of where they live and the idea of looking after the world, especially by not dropping rubbish.”

She has thanked Dr Coram for allowing her to use his photo of the dinosaur footprint in a book plate for Rosa’s Footprint, explaining the book’s message and the reason for the free gifting of copies.

Dr Coram said the print is probably no longer visible, but others may emerge: “These footprints can be seen both sides of Sidmouth, sometimes in reasonable numbers, but it does rely on sea conditions scraping away the shingle to expose the bedrock, which doesn’t always happen.

“Also, they are more normally much more vague and incomplete imprints which are harder to make out. Occasionally, like this one, the footprints filled with sand, which hardened and made them much more resistant, meaning they were better preserved millions of years later.

“I have collected a small number of the footprints so they can be preserved in museums (including those at Exeter and Sidmouth), but in general I prefer to leave them on the beach so other people can enjoy them.

“I expect this one may well have washed away by now, but hopefully the sea will expose more, so it’s well worth keeping an eye open for them.”