Litter pickers bid to restore coastline to its former glory

Sarah Henderson, conservation manager for the Holkham Estate, with a team of litter pickers. Sarah Henderson, conservation manager for the Holkham Estate, with a team of litter pickers.

Thursday, January 9, 2014
6:30 AM

Large amounts of litter washed up by the huge tidal surge of December 5 continue to blight parts of the much-loved north Norfolk coast.

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Sarah Henderson, conservation manager for the Holkham Estate, shows how the floods have changed the look of the coastline in the Wells area.Sarah Henderson, conservation manager for the Holkham Estate, shows how the floods have changed the look of the coastline in the Wells area.

Sarah Henderson, conservation manager for the Holkham Estate, has been working with nature reserve staff and a hardy band of volunteers since then to restore the area from Holkham to Wells to its former beauty.

They were out on Tuesday working on the coast from Wells to Stiffkey and Miss Henderson said she hoped the clear-up would be completed within the next couple of weeks.

She said: “The floods brought in a huge amount of litter from the sea.

“There has been rope and lots of plastic and sadly that has caused some fatalities to wildlife. We have seen a few dead birds on our way round.”

Miss Henderson said that around 40 people had taken part in the clear-up which, she believed, demonstrated the passion people had for the north Norfolk coast.

It comes at a time when Holkham has been voted the best beach in the UK in a survey of more than 100 British travel writers and editors, conducted by the travel inspiration website 101 Holidays.

Miss Henderson said: “We have had a mixture of organised litter collection days and people doing their own thing.

“I’ve cheekily approached people I’ve come across and many have been so willing to help.”

She added: “We get half a million visitors a year here and, for that number of people, it is very clean.

“But litter breeds litter and when the beaches are kept clean people are much less reluctant to drop litter themselves, so this clear-up is really important.”

Miss Henderson said the floods had changed the entire look of the coastline in the Holkham and Wells area.

She said: “The sand dunes have disappeared altogether and instead of gradually going out to sea it comes to a sudden stop like a cliff edge. Hopefully the coast will repair itself by the summer.”

Meanwhile, Wells flood action plan co-ordinator Dr Marie Strong warned people to look out for the spring tides during the first few days of February.

She said: “Please check if you are in an at-risk sector and, if you haven’t already, register for Environment Agency warnings and organise protection.”

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