And come the summer, we flock to the coast regardless of the gridlocked motorways, the sibling bickerings in the back of the car, the intolerable queues in the service station for the toilet…but still we happily go and it doesn’t matter how old you are, you still want to the first person to see the sea!
Much of the coastline around South West England is owned by the National Trust, which currently owns an impressive 775 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, having begun with just 201 miles back in 1965. And in that year, the organisation established The Neptune Coastline Campaign which this year, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
According to the Director-General of the National Trust, Fiona Reynolds, “our fragile coastline is under ever-increasing threat from erosion and sea level rise. Today more than ever we need to be able to work together and meet the growing public need for access to and enjoyment of our coastline.”
Thus the Neptune Coastline Campaign was born to help preserve the areas that we most like to visit. To put it into context, every mile of coastal footpath costs £3,000 each year, more when extreme weather and climate change mean extra care is needed.
Regarding Wales and the South West, the National Trust published research a decade ago about the long-term future of the coastline and the impact of climate change (sea level rise, coastal flooding and increased erosion). The South West has 279 kilometres of National Trust coastline at risk of erosion and tidal flooding. The Welsh coastline has played an important role with Whiteford Burrows near Llanmadoc on the Gower Peninsula the first place to be saved by the Neptune Coastline Campaign.
And the South West is responding with a year-round Coastal Festival, with events and festivities happening all around the region. In Dorset alone there is regular Hawaii Fish-O paddleboarding at Studland Bay or on Brownsea Island choose from a staging of the Tempest , a heathland walk, Apple Day or the relaxed dinner cruises.
Check out the full itinerary for the Coastal Festival and see for yourself what is being organised in the South West. We here at AC Services (Southern) will be attending some of the events, and no doubt will be called upon by catering establishments around the region to service a Rational oven or two, and we are delighted to be doing our bit for the Campaign Neptune.
“We are seeing the impact of climate change on a daily basis. There has always been change, but we are seeing more severe incidents. For example, last winter, we saw five metres of the fore dunes along three kilometres of beach swept away in one night,” comments Jonathan Fairhurst, National Trust North Devon Area Warden.
Since 1965, over £20 million has been spent on the South West on preserving the coastline, and although funding is important, each year around 800 volunteers specifically help with coastal work in the South West.
There’s always a way to help deliver the National Trust’s vision for a “healthy, beautiful coastline rich in wildlife and culture which people can enjoy and which benefits local communities and the coastal economy.” Have a look and see for yourself how you can contribute as well as enjoy the rewards of Campaign Neptune.