New family beach cleans at Rye Harbour

, 21 January 2020
New family beach cleans at Rye Harbour
Beach clean at Rye Harbour

It's good to report some positive news about the environment. Barry Yates and team at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve are finding less litter on the beach, because more visitors have been taking their rubbish home with them, and some are conducting their own 'two minute beach cleans', all of which helps remove plastics and other litter from the marine environment.

This, we think, is due to increased public awareness of plastic pollution after David Attenborough's Blue Planet II was aired, showing some of the shocking effects plastic pollution is having on our oceans.

Sussex Wildlife Trust is always delighted by the support from corporate groups and the many volunteers who take part in beach cleans along the coast. It makes a difference, and it is really appreciated. 

But, as Lucy Bowyer, Senior Learning and Engagement Officer at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve explains, 'We do need to keep on doing it. Storms and tides wash up debris on the beach, and there are unfortunately also still a few visitors who don't take their rubbish home. We often find pieces of fishing net, rope and lots of bottle tops. Odd things too.  Sometimes we spend ages trying to identify what some things once were! Some of the five million bits of Lego that fell into the sea in 1997 are still being washed up today.'

As part of the new Discover Rye Harbour project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund,  Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is putting on monthly family weekend beach cleans.

The first took place in January, and we had an amazing turn out of about 75 volunteers. Most litter we found was plastic and from the fishing industry. 

Beach clean at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve jan 2020 Barry YatesSussex Wildlife Trust

We are trying to get away from using the black plastic bags, and tried some old pillowcases, with some success (so if you have any you don't want then please drop them into our information cabins).

Beach clean Rye Harbour Nature Reserve jan 2020 Barry YatesSussex Wildlife Trust

We also sorted the litter, so as much as possible will be recycled and some of the fishing litter will be reused in art and craft projects. But about a cubic metre of waste will go to landfill sadly.

Beach litter jan 2020

Highlights were a £10 note and a £1 coin that will be added to donations to the https://ryeharbourdiscoverycen...

We are grateful to everyone for coming. Next one - Sat 29th February, 10am - 12:30pm. All welcome. Litter pickers and bags provided, please bring gloves if you have them. Meet at Rye Harbour Discovery Centre. No booking required

More information here.

Leave a comment


  • Neil Mather:

    We always collect plastic when we have dog walks on the beach there. It would be really helpful if there somewhere near the beach we could dump rubbish collected – there are only the dog poo bins. I’d love to see some 2 Minute Beach Clean boards & sticks there, with a nice big bin to dump plastic collected in. The lack of bins limits what we can collect & dispose of each walk. Many thanks.

    21 Jan 2020 16:36:00

  • Deborah West:

    I totally agree with Neil . We do the same but it gets to a point when you cannot pick up anymore as you have to carry it for the entirety of the walk

    04 Feb 2020 15:17:00