Rock Pooling & Beach Cleaning – Ways To Enjoy The UK On A Budget
Our latest blog takes a look at one way you can enjoy the UK on a budget, provided you don’t live too far from the coast.
The beach isn’t always just sand – some of the best memories many have of enjoying the beach as a child involve scampering between large rocks with a net or bucket to examine, and in some cases retrieve the local critters. Some surprises may lurk just below the surface, such as the stinging tentacles of the sea anemone, and the defiant claw of the sand crab, but overall rock pooling remains the best.
Of course, the thing about nooks and crannies is they tend to attract plastic. A contemporary nemesis to all sea life everywhere, plastic is basically a lurking, growing cancer in our oceans. As it breaks down into gritty particles it enters all life and poisons it from the inside. The forecasts are not good for the next few decades as plastic is set to explode, overtaking fish as the sea’s biggest occupant.
So, there’s clearly two fronts to this conservation effort – one is cataloguing and making a note of, and in the process learning about, the creatures that inhabit rock pools. The other is simply keeping your beach of choice and their homes as clean as possible. This is why this summer, get your kit together and combine these fun exploits in your capacity as an amateur beach surveyor.
It’s pretty easy to get started – you’ll need a net, a bucket, a big bin bag for rubbish, a notepad and pencil, and of course your standard beachwear of choice. A local marine wildlife guide is essential. Make your surveys carefully and slowly, noting the wildlife as you go along. Anything you catch, document and release it promptly where you found it. If you see anything endangered or rare, it’s best to contact the higher up beach authorities. But the most important thing you can do is try to fill up that rubbish bag as full as possible.
On your travels you may also be rewarded with rare inanimate treasures – iridescent shells, interesting pebbles or other small trinkets. It’s safe to say you don’t NEED to take home a whole bag of rocks, but the more plastic you remove the more opportunities you may have to find a shiny something. It’s not always considered best practice to take these things home, but in exchange for removing a bag of litter it’s a fair trade for a few choice bits.
Older remnants of mankind’s impact on the earth may reveal themselves – the sea glass of days gone by is a reminder we can use materials which don’t pollute, those rare shards of colour in the sand made smooth by the erosion of time. Green the most common, followed by brown, then the rarer yellow, then sky blue, then the rare dark blue, and the oft-coveted red sea glass. Your search may find you any one of these jewels.
And, as the tide comes in and submerges the rock pools again for another little while, and everything is reclaimed by the ocean, you can rest easy knowing that the small impact you have had on the tiny friends who live below the surface may be useful in its own way. This summer you can start a movement. Observe, survey, document, clean, tidy, and recycle your way across the nation’s beaches.
Either way this is just one of the ways you can enjoy the UK on a budget.