Snails of the sea

Last week we spent some time on the shore in Whitehaven and came across some empty Flat Periwinkle shells (or littorina obtusata to give them their full Latin name).  These small marine molluscs are widespread and common along the UK coast and can usually found on rocky shores amongst the brown seaweeds.  They grow to about 1.5 centimetres and can occur with orange, yellow, brown, grey or even chequered shells.

A little way further along the shore we found an occupied shell with a periwinkle exploring its surroundings.  Check out the video on our instagram page.

When you’re next on the shore why not stop your stroll and take a while to look closer at the amazing creatures you can see?

Handfuls of rubbish – beach cleaning with Surfers Against Sewage

 

On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October we joined the Surfers Against Sewage team for the Autumn Beach Clean Series to collect litter and washed up rubbish at  Whitehaven’s North Shore and St Bees Beach.

The weather was kind on both days and over 30 volunteers gave up their weekend afternoons to come along and join in.  As always the amount of plastic pollution was astounding.  We spent two hours at each beach and there were so many cotton bud sticks, strings from balloon releases, straws, single use plastic bottles and sanitary applicators that we gave up counting and just kept on collecting.  In St Bees alone we collected and removed 22 bags of litter.  Fast food packaging, wet wipes, cutlery and rope were also, unfortunately, in abundance high up on the tide line having been washed up during recent storms.

Much of this waste could be avoided with a little bit of though or planning.  Some simple (and easy) tips are:

  • Take a reusable cup to the coffee shop
  • Recycle cans and bottles – don’t chuck them on the ground or in the bin
  • Most importantly remember that only the three P’s should go down the toilet – pee, poo and paper!
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Copeland Coastal Conference success

This year’s Copeland Coastal Conference was a great success with a variety of speakers and attendees having a great day at the new Beacon Portal.  Presentations covered a variety of topics from the new Lake District World Heritage Site to marine litter issues, a potential extension to the St Bees Head Heritage Coast and a pioneering food and energy positive community at Millom.

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The rain also held off long enough for us to get outside to hear about an exciting new project which aims to tackle to litter issue in Whitehaven harbour with the Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project aiming to be one of the first places in Britain to purchase a SeaBin.

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All the presentations from the day can be found below:

The Lake District – a new World Heritage Site, Eric Barker (Lake District National Park)

A tourism perspective on the world heritage site designation, Peter Frost-Pennington (Muncaster Castle)

Harmony presentation, Ashley Dobbs

Curating on the Coast Whitehaven, a heritage town, Elizabeth Kwasnik (The Beacon)

Seabins and the Whitehaven marina clean-up project, Steve Walter (Whitehaven Harbour Youth Project)

LOVEmyBEACH, Hannah Barnes (Morecambe Bay Partnership)

Marine designations along the Copeland Coast, Laurence Browning (Natural England)

We also heard from Neil Harnott of Cumbria Wildlife Trust about the Cumbria Coast Pollinator Project.  If you’re interested in filling in the pollinator survey all then information can be found in a previous ‘News’ post What do you know about pollinators?

Sophie Badrick, our project officer, organised the day and also gave an update on the Heritage Coast extension proposals.  A copy of the Heritage Coast report, produced by the Colourful Coast partnership and National Trust, can be downloaded from this page Heritage Coast extension

Finally, Steve Wilson from Surfers Against Sewage gave a great talk on his interest in the area.  Details of future beach clean events can be found on the Cumbria Coastline Clean up facebook page

 

What do you know about pollinators?

Can you spare a few minutes to help Cumbria’s pollinators?

The Cumbria Local Nature Partnership is hoping to secure Lottery funding that will help pollinating insects on the west coast of Cumbria, by creating and connecting suitable habitats.

To inform the application, it is important that we have more information about what people in Cumbria know about pollinating insects and the sorts of activities you might like to get involved with.

Please complete this very short questionnaire to help wildlife thrive on the Cumbrian coastline.

https://wildlifetrusts.wufoo.eu/forms/coastlines-the-cumbria-coast-pollinator-project

It should take just a couple of minutes. Thank you for your help!

Between the Tides

This week we came across a fantastic programme from Radio 4 called Between the Tides.  It’s an exciting soundscape following life between the tides on a sandy coastline.  Hear about tides, the strandline, why birds love the coast and why people do too!  It’s not quite the sheer rock faces and shingle beaches of the Colourful Coast, which have a unique attraction all of their own, but it’s well worth a listen.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00850z0?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_radio_4&ns_source=facebook&ns_linkname=radio_and_music

 

Copeland Coastal Conference 2017

View over Fleswick Bay toward St Bees North Head with gorse in the foreground

The Copeland Coastal Conference is taking place at the Beacon Portal in Whitehaven on 17th October.  Organised by the Colourful Coast Partnership, with support from Copeland Borough Council,  the conference is open to anyone with an interest in the coast and is a great opportunity to hear about how other communities are tackling coastal issues, hear how the coast is used in a variety of ways, share knowledge and most importantly it is a chance celebrate Copeland’s beautiful coastline. 

This year we have a variety of speakers covering a number of topics including the new World Heritage Site, marine conservation designations, community action and an exciting and innovative marine litter project.  A copy of the full agenda can be found here –> Copeland Coastal Conference 2017

The conference will take place over a full day with a light lunch and refreshments provided.  There is no charge for the conference but tickets must be booked in advance.  If you would like to book a ticket, please use the Eventbrite site  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/copeland-coastal-conference-2017-tickets-37917300667

 

 

Great British Beach Clean success

The weekend of 16 & 17 September was the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean.  Unlike other beach cleans, the focus at these events is to survey and record the types of litter collected as well as clean the beaches.

These events happen all over the country and we organised two events in the Colourful Coast area.  On Saturday we headed to St Bees and with a team of 13 volunteers cleared 9 bags of litter, mostly small plastic, cotton bids and bottle caps which had been brought in and pushed up the beach by the recent high tides and stormy weather.

On Sunday a hardy group of 14 volunteers met at Whitehaven’s North Shore and tackled the litter problem there.  Lots of fast food wrapping, drinks bottles and cigarette butts were collected here, some of which hadn’t even seen the sea and had blown from the nearby parking areas – a very different type of letter from St Bees.  14 bags of litter were collected in total, along with drums, containers and two disposable barbeques.  As with the St Bees event Copeland Borough Council kindly came to collect it all.

All the data was added to the MCS website and if you’re interested in what we found you can follow the links for the survey results from both beaches:

170917 Whitehaven North Shore – Survey 17 Sep 2017

170916 St Bees – Survey 16 Sep 2017

We’ll be organising more beach cleans in future so keep an eye on the events list and come along to help out, we provide all the tools you’ll need and often there’s a cake or chocolate biscuits afterwards to say thank you for getting out to help!

 

Community action in action!

A huge THANK YOU to the volunteers who came along to help with our community clean up day at the Coal Depot.  The 10 volunteers spend the day collecting and removing glass, tiles, rubbish, two old computer monitors, a TV, printer and two mattresses from the site.  Luckily the sun shone and chocolate biscuits kept spirits high!  In total we removed seven, yes seven, trailer load of rubbish from the site.

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Before

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During

Community clean up at the Coal Depot

After all that hard work

We’ll be back in this area soon doing more litter picking, path clearance and other tasks so keep your eyes peeled for dates.  We also hope to have some exciting news soon about  creatures that love the piles of rubble and are making this site their home.   Keep checking back here – you’ll be the first to know!

 

Coal depot community clean up day

The Coal Depot has been derelict for some time, has piles of unsightly dumped rubble and has attracted rubbish and fly tipped material. With paths running alongside the site it’s an area popular with dog walkers, locals and those wanting to get to the coast. So, we’re organising a day next week when anyone can drop in to help us tidy it up! We’ll be clearing rubbish and doing some other tasks around the Haig site to help maintain the wildflower grassland too. We’ll provide all the tools you need, we just need people to come down and help out. The team will be meeting in the Haig car park at 10.15am but you can drop in at any point during the day – just head to the Haig site and look for the group with litter pickers and bags of rubbish.