The aim of this work is to investigate the potential offered by a natural fibre composite for applications that require a superior resistance to impact and other forms of dynamic loading. To achieve this, the post-impact behaviour of a jute/polyester laminate has been compared to that offered by two types of glass/polyester laminates. Acoustic emission and thermoelastic stress analysis techniques have been used to investigate damage in these materials. A methodology, involving the combined use of different real-time monitoring techniques and tests for evaluating the residual properties of the composites, has been shown to be useful for characterising the global post-impact behaviour of these materials during post-impact tensile, flexural and static indentation tests. The damage introduced by impact loading and post-impact indentation was then elucidated using optical microscopy techniques.