PORTHTOWAN BEACH ASSOCIATION
COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS AS PORTHTOWAN
WINS BLUE FLAG AWARD
Thanks to the hard work of multiple community groups and organisations,
Porthtowan is once again celebrating a Blue Flag Award and also Seaside
Award. We will be celebrating on Saturday 27 th May 2023 with a beach clean
and flag raising between 11am and 1pm. The Blue Flag is awarded for the
summer bathing season which is May 15th to September 30th. Water quality
is based on the previous year’s bathing season.
The Porthtowan Beach Association applies for this award which is
underpinned by stirling community work from several groups. These are
Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club, Porthtowan Dunes Community Group, St
Agnes Marine Conservation Group, Surfers Against Sewage, RNLI and 2 Min
Beach Clean. These groups work hard to ensure that both visitors and
residents can be involved in caring for Porthtowan Beach.
Niki Willows, Chairperson of the Porthtowan Beach Association says
‘Porthtowan is a very special place environmentally and we could not have
won these awards without the support of the aforementioned village groups
and many other people and local businesses in the community who care and
look after their local spot. We look forward to celebrating with them all on
Saturday 27th May. Seeing the Nippers and SLSC teams come across the
beach with the flags is a wonderful community event!’.
At 11am on Saturday 27 th May the event will kick off with a beach clean open
to all ages and abilities. At midday, the Blue Flag and Seaside Awards flags
will be brought in from the sea by an RNLI lifeboat in a joint training activity
with Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club and a procession will take place up the
beach in an Olympic-style relay before being raised at the Blue Bar. This year
children from Porthtowan SLSC will be raising the flag.
Porthtowan Surf Photos will be our official photographer for the day. Please be
on the shoreline at noon if you would like to be in the big beach line up.
Thanks to Cornwall Council, Blue Bar Porthtowan for hosting the flagpole and
flag raising event, and to Monkey Puzzle Printers for keeping our car park
information signs updated.
The Porthtowan Beach Association website is: http://porthtowanbeach.com
Two videos, which celebrate the beach can be seen here.
Video music thanks to Haircut one Hundred
Blue Flag information https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/blue-flag
Blue Flag Award Community Group Reports
Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club
In 2022 Porthtowan Surf Life Saving Club was awarded lottery funding to purchase Arancia Inshore Rescue Boats from New Zealand. These boats are used to quickly rescue people from the surf and proved to be very useful in the summer – club members saved 8 people using the new equipment. Our junior lifeguards practiced for 40 hours before qualifying as crew and drivers to increase our ability to respond to coastguard requests and emergencies during the evenings when the RNLI lifeguards had finished their patrolling. The club continues its core mission of prevention of drowning at Porthtowan, with 220 members involved in surf lifesaving activity throughout the year.
Porthtowan Community Dunes Group
We were absolutely delighted with the turn out for the recent dunes planting. This was a joint venture with Porthtowan Beach Association, our local Dunes Group and Cornwall Council. Earlier in the year Niki Willows Chair of Porthtowan Beach Association & Vice Chair Abby Crosby met up with Gavin from Cormac to assess the situation with fencing, planting and growth of the dune system. You can read about that visit and the subsequent dunes plan here http://porthtowanbeach.com/porthtowan-dunes-update-spring-2022/
After this meeting our local Surfers Against Sewage Rep, Beth, asked if she could run some dunes conservation work with her students at Falmouth Marine School. The group came over and met up with Ali from the Dunes Group and Niki. They removed all the loose green plastic fencing and cable ties from the dunes. They then cut the other green fencing off at sand height – to avoid disturbing plant roots – and also did a ‘Dunes Clean’ picking up any blown in rubbish.
The students had made signs to ask people to keep out of the fenced areas as the plants establish. The green fencing will be reused by our Parish Council, some at the new Jubilee Wood planted up by primary schools in the Parish. This is opposite Presingoll Barns.
On Monday June 27th Flo and Henry from Cormac created a new area with posts and rope. Some of the original posts were reused as were signs that Falmouth Marine School students made. In the afternoon a group of volunteers planted up a large amount of marram grass in the new area, and also along edges of the older dunes. At the end of the session there were still gaps and the Cormac team kindly said they would bring more the next day.
The following day the remainder was planted and Cormac installed some beautiful post and rope fencing along the front of the dunes. The marram grass helps to hold onto the sand in our wilder winters and also creates a habitat for new plants to grow. There is a thought that if the grass is folded then it thinks it is being buried and puts on a growth spurt. We have left some upright and will see which gets going first!
I feel this has really smartened up the appearance of the dunes. Thanks to everyone who has been involved. We hope to continue with planting in the autumn. – Ali Mills & Niki Willows
St Agnes Marine Conservation Group
St Agnes MCG in 2022;
- Monthly beach cleans in partnership with Surfers Against Sewage and Two Minute beach Clean. In 2022 we ran 12 beach cleans and engaged with approximately 360 people whilst removing a minimum of 120 kgs of rubbish off Porthtowan Beach.
- Monthly public sea watches at St Agnes Head in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Seaquest Southwest Project. In 2022 we ran 11 watches (one cancelled due to weather and sea state!) which collected 25 hours of survey effort and engaged with 120 people.
- A Marine and Coastal Bioblitz in May 2022, which engage with over 450 people from the community and collect 202 species records which have been uploaded to the county’s Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
- A public evens programme, involving 3 rockpool rambles, 3 evening talks, 2 St Agnes Library sessions on sharks and rocky shores, 4 guided walks in partnership with the National Trust, 3 Scout sessions with the St Agnes and Redruth Beavers and Cubs, and one snorkel Safari to educate the local community and visitors to the parish about the value and importance of our coast and sea and how they can play their role in protecting it. Events attended by approximately 600 people.
- We deployed a passive acoustic monitoring device off shore near Bawden Rocks – FPOD, as part of the CATT Project https://research.uk.net/catt.html. The aim is to collect information on cetacean movement and activity and use that for better management of these protected species in our south west waters.
- Carried out our annual intertidal Shoresearch survey, in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust in October 2022. The survey was attended by 25 volunteers, with all data being shared nationally with the National Biodiversity Network.
- Finally the group have supported the efforts of the Porthtowan Sand Dune restoration work with local community members
SEAQUEST SOUTHWEST (Seawatch)
Seaquest Southwest have recorded a great amount of marine megafauna during 2022 including, common dolphins, great seals, bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise and blue fin tuna, a brilliant showcase of the amazing marine life around the Cornish Coast.
Seaquest Southwest have also been awarded funding from Natural England to review and improve their data collection and dissemination. – Lynn Davies