How can you participate in beach clean-ups while camping on UK shores?

For the eco-conscious traveller, the beach offers more than just a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the sun. It's also a place where we can make a positive impact, by volunteering our time to help clean up the coast. This not only improves the environment for local wildlife but also enhances the experience for other visitors. In this article, we'll explore how you can participate in beach clean-up events while camping on UK shores.

Discovering Local Beach Clean-up Events

The first step towards helping to clean our beaches is identifying local clean-up events. These initiatives are often organized by environmental groups, local communities, or councils, and are a great way to make a difference while enjoying your camping experience.

In the UK, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is one of the best-known organizations that hold regular beach clean-up events. They have an easy-to-use website where you can find organized events near your camping location. You can also check local community bulletin boards or social media groups for any upcoming clean-up activities.

Another great resource is the Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) website. This organization not only hosts their own events but also encourages individuals to organize their own clean-up initiatives.

Remember that participation is not only about picking up plastic or other debris. It's also about learning more about the local ecosystem, understanding the impact of human activities on it, and sharing this knowledge with others.

Preparing for a Beach Clean-up

Once you've found an event to participate in, it's time to prepare. Beach clean-up involves a fair amount of physical work, but don’t worry, it's not beyond the average camper’s capabilities.

First, you'll want to be dressed appropriately. Comfortable, closed-toe shoes are a must, as well as a hat and sunscreen to protect you from the sun. Gloves are also essential for protecting your hands from sharp objects and potential contaminants.

Most organizations will provide bags for collecting trash, but bringing your own re-usable bag or bucket can be a more eco-friendly choice. Other useful tools include a trash picker or a trowel for digging out buried items.

It's also recommended to bring your own water bottle to stay hydrated, and perhaps some snacks for energy. Remember, all the items you bring should be eco-friendly and produce minimal waste.

The Work Involved in a Beach Clean-up

Participating in a beach clean-up can be hard work, but it's also remarkably rewarding. You'll spend the day picking up trash, which might include everything from plastic bottles and bags to discarded fishing gear and even car parts.

While some items can be picked up easily, others might require a bit of digging or hauling. However, every piece of trash you remove is one less piece that could harm wildlife or pollute our oceans.

Remember to work efficiently and take regular breaks. It's not a race, and it's important to pace yourself so you can work throughout the day.

You'll also likely learn a lot during the clean-up. Organizers often provide information about the types of trash you're likely to find, and you might be surprised at what you learn about the impact of pollution on our coasts and oceans.

Extending Your Contribution Beyond the Clean-up Day

While participating in a beach clean-up event is a great way to contribute, there are also things you can do to extend your positive impact beyond the clean-up day.

Firstly, be a responsible camper. Practice "leave no trace" camping, which means you should leave the camping site as you found it, or even cleaner. Avoid using single-use plastic, always pick up your trash, and make sure to properly dispose of it.

Secondly, consider organizing your own clean-up event. Organizations like Surfers Against Sewage provide resources to help you do this, and it can be a great way to involve your friends, family, or even the wider camping community.

Finally, use your experience to inform and educate others. Share what you learned during the clean-up day on your social media, or talk to your friends and family about the importance of keeping our beaches clean.

Benefits of Participating in Beach Clean-up Events

The benefits of participating in beach clean-up events are numerous. Firstly, it's a tangible way to help protect the environment. Every piece of trash you pick up is one less item that can harm wildlife or pollute our waters.

Additionally, these events are a great way to meet likeminded people and become part of a community that cares about the environment. You might make new friends, or even find opportunities for further volunteering or activism.

Participating in a beach clean-up can also greatly enhance your camping experience. Knowing that you've helped to make the beach a cleaner, safer place can give you a sense of satisfaction and make your camping trip even more enjoyable.

Overall, participating in beach clean-ups while camping on UK shores is a rewarding and impactful activity. So why not incorporate it into your next camping holiday? You'll enjoy the great outdoors while making a positive contribution to the environment.

The State of Beach Pollution in South Devon

The issue of beach pollution is particularly noticeable on the shores of South Devon and other parts of the UK. South Devon, with its beautiful sandy beaches and picturesque fishing boats, has been increasingly impacted by marine litter and plastic pollution.

Every year, tonnes of trash are discarded on our beautiful British beaches, damaging the local ecosystems and threatening the marine life that calls it home. Studies have shown that marine litter, which includes everything from plastic bottles and bags to discarded fishing gear, is a major threat to wildlife. It can also be hazardous to humans, posing risks to swimmers and surfers as well as those spending time on the beach.

While the situation may seem dire, it's important to remember that each one of us can make a difference. Participating in beach clean-ups is a simple yet effective way of combating the issue. So, if you're planning on wild camping in South Devon, or any other UK beach, why not contribute to the solution by engaging in a beach clean?

The months of June through September, which are peak camping season in the UK, are also prime time for beach clean events. Many organizations, like the Marine Conservation Society, hold their largest clean-ups in September, making it the perfect opportunity to join.

Making Beach Clean-ups Part of Your Great British Holiday Experience

For the eco-conscious camper, participating in beach cleans can truly enrich your holiday experience. Whether you're camping in a National Park, a dog-friendly campsite, or trying your hand at wild camping, beach cleans can easily be incorporated into your trip.

One way to do this is by treating the clean-up as a fun and educational family activity. It’s a wonderful way to spend time together while teaching children about the importance of protecting our environment. Plus, it's a great way to engage in meaningful volunteer work during your holiday.

Perhaps you're more into water sports? Many beach clean events in the UK, such as those organized by Surfers Against Sewage, also include fun water-based activities. You can spend the day catching waves, then help clean the beach that's provided you with so much enjoyment.

Food and drink also play a significant role in the British holiday experience. Why not make your beach clean-up a social event by organizing a picnic afterwards? Just be sure to pack your food and drinks in reusable containers to minimize waste.

And don't forget about the National Trust - this organization not only manages many beautiful coastal sites in the UK but also organizes their own beach clean events. Participating in a National Trust beach clean could provide you with a new perspective on these cherished sites.


In conclusion, beach cleans provide a fantastic opportunity for campers to give back to the environment and enhance their holiday experience. There's a vast range of beach clean events across the UK, from South Devon to National Trust sites, giving everyone the chance to participate.

As we've seen, these events are about much more than just picking up trash. They're about learning more about the pressing issue of marine litter, meeting likeminded individuals, and making a tangible impact on the environment. By participating in beach cleans, you're not only enjoying the Great British outdoors but also actively protecting it for future generations.

So, when planning your next camping trip, why not consider incorporating a beach clean-up into your itinerary? It could turn out to be one of the most memorable aspects of your holiday. Don't forget to sign up for newsletters from organizations such as the Marine Conservation Society to stay updated on upcoming events. Let's strive to keep our British beaches clean and safe for all to enjoy.

Copyright 2024. All Rights Reserved