Dozens of volunteers came down to the beaches of Somerset at the weekend for a series of events to uncover its hidden wildlife and discover the extent of the marine litter problem.
The Beachwatch Big Weekend took place over the 17th and 18th September. It was part of the UK’s biggest beach survey and clean up, organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS.) As well as cleaning up local beauty spots, the data that participants collected will help the MCS tackle the problem of litter in the sea and on beaches.
Beach cleans in Somerset included Kilve, Berrow Dunes, Brean Cove and Bossington.
The Somerset Biodiversity Partnership was one of the organisations helping to organise the events. Partnership Officer, Alison Slade, said: “The Beachwatch Big Weekend has been an amazing opportunity for local people to find out more about the unique wildlife which thrives on Somerset’s coast and to really make a difference. Thank you to all who helped make this happen.”
All ages tramped across the beaches, peering into rock pools and fishing out pieces of plastic such as fishing line, strapping bands and cotton bud sticks from the strandline. Sedgemoor District Council provided gloves and litter pickers and both district councils collected the rubbish collected. At Kilve and Berrow beaches volunteers collected over 20 bags, containing at least 1,000 pieces of litter. Elsewhere in Somerset, Ofwat employees carried out a litter survey at Brean Cove and National Trust volunteers surveyed the rubbish on Bossington Beach.
Treasure hunts for rock pool inhabitants also took place at Kilve, together with a free guided walk of the amazing fossils and geology. At Berrow Dunes, participants discovered how the sand dunes are managed for wildlife and the specially adapted plants living in them.