A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Poldhu cove, on the west coast of the Lizard, attracts thousands of visitors to its sandy shores every year. From crowds of holiday makers during the summer months to locals and dog walkers in the winter, as well as the increasing number of those braving the surf. The rocky shore and dunes at the beach entrance support an array of maritime plants including some rarities such as Sea Knotgrass. It is also a great spot to see dolphins, seals and sometimes basking sharks. The Choughs can sometimes be seen here too as they travel between coastal feeding grounds.Friends of Poldhu

But sadly Poldhu also attracts a huge amount of marine litter each year. This is mainly due to its openness to the Atlantic and prevailing wind direction, the beach acts as a net collecting litter from the incoming tide. This marine litter comes from a wide range of sources from sewage overflows to fisheries. Each year the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) collates this data so they can tackle the main sources of marine pollution. The effects can be devastating on wildlife as well as an eyesore and health risk to us. Over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year from ingestion and entanglement in marine litter. Toxic waste and plastic are the main concern as they do not biodegrade, just brake up into smaller and smaller pieces where they can be ingested and travel up the food chain from plankton right up to us.

Luckily its not all doom and gloom, proactive groups are working worldwide to tackle this pollution and fortunately for Poldhu it is now looked after by a dedicated team; The Friends of Poldhu. The group formed almost a year ago when a group of local dog walkers joined forces to tackle to problem at their well loved beach. Inspired by a new beach clean station installed at the entrance, they approached the National Trust and Poldhu beach café and so the group was formed.

Beach cleaning pointThe first year has been a massive achievement; the beach has never been so clean. It has inspired many local families, holiday makers and children to join in and support the work which of course in turn raises awareness. Local kids have even been spotted to pick up a bag and start cleaning when they turned up to find the surf was flat, their efforts kindly rewarded by a hot chocolate from Ross at the beach café. Friends of Poldhu have also assisted in other ways such as improving the wildflower triangle with Mullion in Bloom and assisting the NT Rangers with building a new fence and installing the boardwalk. The continued effort of the friends group is visibly making a big difference and there are plans to do even more next year.Wildflower triangle

Why not join in at our next monthly beach clean on Fri 6th Dec 10am, mince pies and mulled wine will be provided for this Christmas special. If you'd like to know more or to get involved then please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published: Nov 2013
Author: Elle Parsons

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