Join a National Trust Beach Clean

beach-clean-imageAs part of the Great British Beach Clean week (16-19 September), organised by the Marine Conservation Society, the National Trust has a series of beach cleans taking place in Devon and Cornwall this September for volunteers to come along and help clear up their local beach.

There are nearly 2,500 items of rubbish for every kilometre on a beach [1] and every year National Trust staff and volunteers use valuable time cleaning up the beaches it clears for and the Trust is calling for everyone to take some time, get out and help clear their local beach.

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A third more litter on our beaches

Pic by Samantha Cook Photography 15March15.  National Trust The Big Beach Clean Week 2015, at Knoll Beach, Studland, Dorset.Beach litter increased by more than a third in just one year, according to Marine Conservation Society (MCS) figures released today.

Run over one weekend last September, the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean saw thousands of volunteers survey and remove more than 275,000 pieces of litter from 340 beaches in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Channel Islands. Last year fourteen National Trust beaches took part in the survey in September.

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Pink Bottles are merely a drop in the ocean

18March_JustinJustin Whitehouse, National Trust Ranger on the Lizard is one of the ‘Clean Cornwall’ inspiring people of Cornwall who are all playing a role in helping to stop litter spoiling the landscape and causing harm to wildlife.

‘When thousands of pink bottles washed up on Poldhu Cove on the Lizard Peninsula at the beginning of January, this beautiful Cornish beach was suddenly in the media spotlight. It wasn’t just the local media which covered the story, broadcasters from across the UK, Europe and beyond scrambled to cover the story of the infamous pink bottles coming ashore.

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It’s your coast – help us care for it

National Trust volunteers and staff cleaning Bossington Beach, on the Holnicote Estate, Exmoor National Park, Somerset.

National Trust volunteers and staff cleaning Bossington Beach, on the Holnicote Estate, Exmoor National Park, Somerset.

As part of the 2015 South West Coastal Festival which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign, the National Trust is asking for volunteers to dress down, get dirty and help clean 17 beaches across the South West for the Big Beach Clean week 15th March – 22nd March.

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Mass south west beach clean

Going to the beach for a walk with my dogs is about the most enjoyable and relaxing thing I do but I was really shocked to discover that there are two pieces of litter for every footstep I and you take on beaches in the south west.

It seems this tide of litter on our beaches is on the increase and not only can it be a  health hazard to us and off putting for our much needed tourists, its estimated that over 100,000 marine animals die every year from entanglement or ingestion of plastics, discarded on our beaches or at sea.

An annual event for us in the Trust and our energetic band of volunteers is our annual spring beach clean, and this year from the 2nd of April, we have 27 beach cleans taking place from Cape Cornwall to the top of Dorset.

Beach cleaning not only helps to improve the coastal habitat for plants and animals but also to ensure beaches that we care for are clean and ready for the first visitors of the season.  But its a big job as we care for over 700 miles of coastline in the south west and each beach costs approximately £400 to clean each time.

If we stood all the skips we fill with beach rubbish side by side, it would stretch as far as three Jumbo jets parked end to end.  If stacked on top of one another it would stand as high as 20 London double-decker buses .

Marine environments are also hugely affected by litter pollution at every level – from tiny microscopic organisms through to the very largest animals such as whales and turtles. Even the most remote beaches are affected by litter blown or brought in on the tide. Litter comes from many sources – the public, fishing activities, sewage pipes and shipping, but it is all preventable.

Previous beach cleans have revealed a number of items from the grounding of the Napoli on Branscombe Beach including BMW parts.  Parts of an old cooking range probably from old cottages washed away in the early 1900’s were discovered at a beach clean on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, a scaffold clamp from a WW2 beach defence barrier an unbroken light bulb and a telegraph pole weighing 1 tonne, were some of the other items.

Rangers in charge of the beach cleans are anticipating that various plastics will form the greatest volume of litter, and these can present some of the greatest hazards to wildlife, both on and offshore. Plastics can be ingested by turtles, seabirds and cetaceans (whales, dolphins etc) and noxious contaminants can also poison wildlife.

All our teams involved will be reporting on the volume of rubbish found on their beaches, and documenting the stranger or more surprising items found!

Below you’ll find details of beach cleans taking place over the next week or so, otherwise contact your local National Trust place for more details of how you can get involved.

Devon
Ayrmer Cove – Ringmore 2 April, 10am
Woolacombe Beach at Mill Rock 5 April 10am
Mansands 6 April,  10am
Scabbacombe 6 April, (following mansands clean)
Wembury Beach 13 April, 10am
Cornwall
Trelissick 6 April, 9.30am onwards
Turnaware 6 April, 9.30am onwards
North Helford 6 April, 9.30am onwards
Gunwalloe Church Cove 9 April, 10am – 1pm
Cape Cornwall Car Park 9 April, 2pm
Godrevy Beach 2 April, 10am
Porth Curno 9 April, 10am
Penberth Cove 9 April (following beach clean at Porth Curno)
Polzeath 2 April, 10-12 noon
Holywell 6 April, 1-3pm
Crantock 6 April, 10-12
Northcott 10 April, 10-12
Poldhu Beach 2 April, 10am
Porthcurnick 4 April, 10am
Strangles 5 April, 10 – 12
Dorset
Brownsea Island 16th March
Seatown 17 April 11 -1
Burton Bradstock 17 April 11 -1
Cogden 17 April 11 -1
West Bexington 17 April 11 -1
Ringstead 17 April 11 -1
Studland Heath (Poole Harbour side) 13 April, time
Somerset
Porlock Beach Clean up 15 May, 10am
Brean Down 13 April, 9.30 – 3pm