A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Helford VMCA have small but effective groups of volunteers who can regularly be seen on shore and at events on the Helford. Helford Marine Conservation Group coordinate and share tasks with Plastic Free Helford (part of the Surfers against Sewage plastic free initiative) and Clean Ocean Sailing, an independent group of intrepid water based litter collectors who row, kayak and sail to the most inaccessible coves and islands around the coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

 Busy Litter Pickers

Busy litter pickers

Plastic pollution in the Helford is an ongoing problem (as it is everywhere) especially after an Easterly wind. In 2019 we had a few! Generally speaking a sheltered stretch of water, the Helford River Boats ferryman Ian Wells told me they were up to around nine cancellations this year due to weather conditions. The effects of the wind on the water can bring in quantities of plastic much of it breaking down into small pieces. I guess that is a positive, that we then have the opportunity to remove it as it is left on the shoreline by the outgoing tide.

A bucket of small plastic A bucket of small plastic

Carol Hurst, coordinator for Plastic Free Helford categorises and weighs all we collect and the last count bagged 9.4 Kgs of general waste, 2.4kgs of Council recycling and 14.1 Kgs for the Ocean Recovery Project.
Clearly there is a need to keep plugging away at this job, it can be a nice social event though, some fresh air, a sense of achievement and the chance to catch up with friends and make new ones.
Another task with no end in sight but nevertheless essential is the regular tapping of the Non Native Invasive Pacific Oyster when they appear on the rocks and slipways. There is also a good crop to be found on the beaches attached to small stones and shells or ‘cultch’ as they call it. There is a small but growing market for these ‘wobbly’ Oysters, the misshapen or odd sized are now being used in restaurants as the environmental benefits of using these is becoming apparent.

Helford volunteers are very pleased they can be used from our shores, all the necessary permissions are in place and with cooperation from the Shellfishery we make sure these don’t go to waste!

Standing in front of 40 bags of Oysters all picked by HMCG! Standing in front of 40 bags of Oysters all picked by HMCG!

More positive activities include monitoring the wonderful wildlife that visits or lives on our shores and making our events program happen from organising the events program to making cakes and putting the chairs out.
For information on volunteering contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pubished: Nov 2019
Author: Sue Scott