6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Discover Kent’s coastal treasures

PUBLISHED: 08:15 09 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:15 09 July 2016

Reculver Bay strand line

Reculver Bay strand line

Archant

The strandline on Kent beaches can yield some fascinating finds, from whelks to mermaids’ purses.

Lying high on the shore there is often a line of stranded material, lifted there by the high tide waves and left as the tide recedes back down the shore. Particularly after storms and rough seas, this strandline can be full of treasures and clues as to what lives below the waves, on the shore and further out to sea. Here’s a look at just some of the fascinating things you may find there.

A word of caution; be careful of anything that is still alive, avoid sharp objects or containers with unknown contents; check the tide times and make sure you won’t get cut off.

Common whelks: It won’t take long before you find the large empty shells or yellowish egg masses of the common whelk on a visit to the Swale or other shores around Kent. The largest of our whelks, it’s a carnivorous snail which feeds on worms and other molluscs very low on the shore and in deeper water. Its empty shells make great homes for large mature hermit crabs and its empty egg masses are often mistaken for sponges, which early seafarers used for washing!

Mermaids’ purses: The empty eggcases of 
rays, skates and catsharks (also known as dogfish) are washed up all around Kent’s shores; our Seasearch volunteers see the adult fish when diving on the chalk and shingle seabed around Dover. Catshark cases have curly tendrils on the corners, while skates and rays have ‘horns.’

Butterflies in the sand: The empty shells of banded wedge shells and Baltic tellins scattered across the shores of Sandwich Bay and Romney Bay look like clouds of butterflies, with their delicate paired shells. They live in the soft sandy sediment from the mid shore and out in deeper water. Their long siphons extend up to the surface of the sediment to feed on particles in the water or on the sand.

Cuttlefish: A familiar sight in budgie cages, the cuttlefish bone acts as an internal buoyancy control device in life, being filled with either gas or liquid. What appears to be a bunch of black grapes occasionally appears on the strandline, but this is actually a mass of cuttlefish eggs. Our Shoresearch volunteers have witnessed on the Thanet shores the hatching of tiny cuttlefish babies, perfect replicas of their adult form.

Plastics: The strandline also harbours a huge variety of plastics and other man-made litter which doesn’t biodegrade and can harm marine wildlife. Animals can get entangled in netting, ties and can-holders, or they swallow pieces which can poison them or clog their intestines. We can all help by buying purchases with little or no packaging, and re-using and recycling plastics.

Guardians of the Deep: Kent Wildlife Trust is creating a network of coastal guardians to help protect our wonderful marine wildlife. All 
volunteers will receive training and contribute in a range of ways: reporting unusual wildlife sightings or incidents harmful to wildlife; taking part in beach cleans or control of invasive non-native species; or undertaking marine life surveys. w

If you are interested in becoming a Guardian of the Deep, please call 01622 662012 or email: fiona.white@kentwildlife.org.ukFind out more

Look out for these free, fun, family seaside-themed events organised by Kent Wildlife Trust for the school holidays:

● Rocking Rockpooling, Lower Leas Coastal Park, Folkestone, 25 July

● Marvellous Marine Day, Reculver, 26 July

● Marvellous Marine Day, Tyland Barn, 27 July

● Rocking Rockpooling, Reculver, 28 July

● Marvellous Marine Day, Romney Marsh, Wednesday 3 August

For details call 01622 662012 or visit www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

More from Out & About

Welcome to the second in our series of walking trails written and researched by Discovering Britain. Let’s explore Sandwich

Read more
February 2019

Oozing history and as charming as ever, we take a walk down the medieval streets of Sandwich

Read more
February 2019
Monday, February 4, 2019

The Rough Guides has released its eight top towns and cities to visit this year, and Dungeness has one of the top spots!

Read more
February 2019
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Explore the wonderful Faversham with the ‘Footsteps of Romans and Royalty’ walk

Read more
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The season of romance is in the air and with fairytale castles, literary tales and iconic White Cliffs, where better to pop the question than in the Garden of England? Here are 10 of Kent’s perfect places to propose

Read more

The oldest market town in Kent, Faversham is a perfect blend of pretty scenery, fascinating history and modern convenience

Read more
January 2019
Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Enjoy a delicious lunch or a few cosy drinks after one of these countryside strolls. Here are five great pub walks in Kent

Read more

With high-speed rail links, a rejuvenated high street and £590m worth of investment in new developments, Ashford’s expansion continues

Read more
January 2019
Thursday, January 10, 2019

The elusive snowdrop can be hard to find and before you know it, they’re gone again, so we saved you the trouble and found some beautiful spots in Kent to go for a walk among the snowdrops

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life