There are 13 beach clean groups spread along the Cumbrian Coast and Morecambe Bay, meaning there are lots of opportunities to get involved each month. Some groups run weekly events, some bi-weekly and others monthly.
All of them aim to make a positive difference to the natural environment by removing washed up and left behind litter. However, for many volunteers the beach cleans are more than just litter picks; they are an opportunity to keep fit, healthy and to socialise too.
In 2017 it’s estimated that over 8,000 bags of litter were collected by the hundreds of volunteers who regularly take part in our beach cleans. That’s the equivalent in weight of 10 double decker buses!
Hannah Barnes, Morecambe Bay and Cumbria LOVEmyBEACH Coordinator, has been working with the coastal community in the area for the last year.
She adds, “It’s important to keep our beaches clean and safe for residents, tourists and wildlife. There have been several injuries to children caused from litter on the north west coast and the RSPCA receives 14 calls a day across the UK about animals affected by litter; it’s not hard to see it doesn’t belong on the beach. Every piece of litter removed goes along way; the more people who can help the better!”
Reason #1 – Beach cleans keep the environment safe.
Beach cleans are a great way to spend a few hours in the great outdoors. A typical event will involve walking for around an hour covering approximately one mile in distance. That’s the equivalent of approximately 2,000 steps and means you’re well on the way to the 10,000 step daily target advised by health professionals.
One beach clean volunteer said, “This is an enormously rewarding practical activity – always makes me feel better for doing it!”
Another volunteer commented, “It has helped me a lot with my health and I feel happier too.”
Reason #2 – Beach cleans increase your fitness.
Many volunteers enjoy the social side of being part of a beach clean group, with one volunteer commenting, “It creates a sense of friendship, wellbeing and understanding. It is effortless, sociable and worthwhile and non competitive.”
Reason #3 – Meet new people.
Three beaches in North Cumbria now have regular beach cleans thanks to the hard work of John Gorrill. Allonby, Bowness-on-Solway and Silloth might seem far away, but it’s a great excuse to meet new people and visit a beautiful (and more remote) part of the North West coast.
North Walney National Nature Reserve holds beach cleans every other weekend throughout the winter months. As well as meeting a friendly bunch of people, you might even catch a glimpse of the grey seals that are visiting the island for the breeding season.
All equipment is provided on beach cleans however volunteers are asked to wear suitable clothing and footwear. Under 18s are welcome also but should be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Start times for beach cleans depend on the tide and often change. Make sure to check the LOVEmyBEACH website which contains more information and lists beach clean events across the whole of the North West coast.