Sussex by the Sea

Sussex by the Sea
Can you spot the seal? © Nikki Hills

By Nikki Hills

Learning and Engagement Officer - Seaford and Seven Sisters Country Park

It was a bit too windy for paddle boarding this time so I decided to go on foot to explore a beach I haven’t been to before.  I got up early, headed for Eastbourne and walked a short way along the coast path.  Before too long I arrived at a beautiful, secluded beach.

As it was the weekend of the Great British Beach Clean (and because I always try to do a 2 Minute Beach Clean whenever I’m at the coast) I started to look out for litter as I walked along.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there wasn’t that much plastic on this beach.

Beautiful isn’t it

Cow Gap Beach   Nikki Hills

How about now?

Beach Litter   Nikki Hills

This huge pile of litter was made up of plastic crates, camping gear, fishing nets and pots and an old flip flop!  

I decided to make my way down to the rockpools in search of wildlife.  Under the first rock I was greeted by the red eyes and large claws of a velvet swimming crab, also known as the devil crab. As I continued there were prawns, blennies, edible crabs, starfish and an array of colourful seaweed.  I could have spent all day there and probably would have done if it wasn’t for the incoming tide.  Just as I was about to turn around and head back I spotted something in the sea.  Was is just a piece of driftwood?  It disappeared under the waves….so not driftwood.  I waited to see if anything reappeared, hoping it would and hoping it would be what I thought it was…. Yes!  It was a seal.  2…3…4 seals!!  Wow!  Wishing I had my binoculars, I got a good enough look to see that they looked like Grey Seals - the head profile was flat and elongated.  A group of seals is known as a herd or a pod but perhaps my favourite term is a bob of seals. 

Rockpool   Nikki Hills

I’d brought my swimmers with me but had earlier decided the wind was too cold to go for a dip today.  As I stood and watched the seals bobbing about in the water, the sun shining, I changed my mind and went for a quick dip.  (I made sure I kept away from the seals so I didn’t scare them off.) 

As a thank you to the beach for a wonderful morning I did a beach clean on my way back.  It’s no longer enough to leave no trace but to leave it cleaner than you found it.  I wasn’t going to be able to remove that huge pile of plastic I’d seen earlier but I could collect plastic from below the tide line that might end up back in the sea with those seals.

Help us to protect this amazing coastline on our doorstep by supporting our Sussex by the Sea appeal.  The Sussex by the Sea project will work with schools, young people and local commercial fishers in communities along the Sussex Coast to reduce plastic pollution on our beaches and in the sea and protect the amazing marine wildlife.

Starfish   Nikki Hills

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