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!
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.
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!
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.
This summer we’ve undertaken some exciting work at Birkhams Quarry, just outside Whitehaven.
As part of their planning permission Marshalls Stancliffe Stone, which operates the sandstone quarry, is required to restore areas once they have finished being worked for stone. At the end of 2016 topsoil from elsewhere on site was spread over the first restoration area. The decision was made not to use plug plants or seed the restoration area but to let it vegetate naturally using the seedbank in the topsoil.
So far this summer we have spent two afternoons working with volunteers recording the species we find on site and beginning to remove plants such as bracken, nettle, dock and thistle that, if left unchecked, might take over and shade out wildflowers and grasses. We’ve recorded over 50 species growing in the area, including birds foot trefoil, mouse-ear, common vetch and cuckoo flower. While working in the quarry we’ve also seen numerous butterflies, bees, flies, ladybirds, toads, frogs and voles.
A buff-tailed bumble bee collecting pollen from foxgloves
The site is developing nicely and the variety of species that have already established is encouraging. We’re looking forward to returning over the next few years to keep recording what species we see.