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

Put away your digital devices and get back to nature with a few nights under canvas and the starry night skies this summer

Read more

Kent has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit and throughout the open garden season you'll find an array of stunning choices. Here's a selection of our favourites

Read more
April 2019

Enjoy a short urban walk rather than a country stroll this month, as we follow the course of the ancient Pent stream

Read more
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Try our pick of some of Kent's best boat trips: With everything from a wildlife spotting jaunt down the Stour to a jetboat adventure on the Medway, there's something for everyone

Read more
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Kent has many villages that exude historical charm and a traditional village atmosphere beloved by locals and visitors. Here we pick 10 of the prettiest to explore

Read more

Sandwiched between two of Kent's trendiest towns, this peaceful little seaside resort has been overlooked for years. It's time for Herne Bay to take centre stage

Read more

If you love being active and out in the fresh air, there are plenty of ways you can combine both with helping your community

Read more
Thursday, June 13, 2019

Walking through the delightful valley of Elham is an absolute treat. Enter an oasis of peace and quiet with a whole array of shops and pubs in Elham at the end

Read more

With its unique landscape, rich history and strong cultural identity, we take a look at the Romney Marsh and the towns of Hythe and New Romney

Read more

This popular coastal town offers everything from wild walks and urban art to regenerated spaces

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. 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