“I can’t tell you what you’re going to find but I do know that you will find something” says Kate Osborne, founder of Beach Bonkers, which takes people beachcombing on our special Suffolk shingle beaches. “This is one of the few real treasure hunts you can still do. And even better the beach is refreshed twice a day, every day, with each high tide casting up treasures anew.”
Beach Bonkers today announces a full programme of beachcombing events for the summer holidays and on into the autumn.
There will be beachcombing walks on Felixstowe and Sizewell beaches. Kate says “Felixstowe beach is great for finding natural treasures, as well as fossils like sharks’ teeth. Last year, I found a woolly mammoth’s tooth here! On Sizewell beach, we will also take a look at the plants and how they have adapted to live in the shingle. We can also find lumps of coralline crag which often contain shells and fossil corals.”
In addition to beachcombing walks, Beach Bonkers will be at various locations including Felixstowe Carnival, Dunwich Heath & Beach National Trust, Southwold Boating Lake & Tearooms, and even bringing the beach to Brandon Country Park! At each location, there will be a tableful of beachcombing treasures, a mini shingle beach with clues to find the hidden treasures, and a giant beachcombing board game.
As well as the delight in discovering treasures, Beach Bonkers also raises awareness with the aim of changing the behaviour of visitors to Suffolk’s shingle beaches. Vegetated shingle beach is a rare, and surprisingly fragile, habitat only found in three places in the world. The plants that live there are adapted to conditions where there is no soil and very little fresh water. In places, the shingle can be up to 18 meters deep (eighteen times as long as an adult’s outstretched arm) with plant roots reaching down to as much as two metres.
Kate says “People say they prefer sandy beaches, but then come on a beachcomb and see just how much you can find on a shingle beach. This means they appreciate them more, and in turn means they will look after them. Sadly, as well as the natural treasures we also find beach litter, mainly plastic. It doesn’t just “wash up from the sea” – almost half of it is there because we, the public, have put it there“.
Comments after the walks include “Marvellous for children but fascinating for adults too”, “Great fun!”. “Inspiring” and “The kids are desperate to go again”. But for Kate “the best comments I hear at the end of a walk is ‘I will never look at this beach the same way again’ or ‘I never knew there was so much here.’”
About half of Beach Bonkers’ 2017 events are supported by three grants: the Suffolk Secrets AONB fund; the Galloper Wind Farm Fund and an “Enabling Communities” grant from Felixstowe councillor Tracey Green.
For a full list of all events go to www.beachbonkers.org.uk/come-to-the-beach/ or call 0751 255 7200. Join Beach Bonkers this summer and discover just how full of treasures our beaches are.