Big Beach Clean Up 2016!

In July we had our annual Big Beach Clean Up and this year was one of our most successful.  We had perfect weather for the event and lots of families and children joined us to clean up the shore.

The Friends of Weston Shore got dressed up in piratical gear to add to the fun and lots of pirate certificates and gifts were handed out to our participants. We were joined by our friends Councillor Sue Blatchford, Royston Smith MP and one of the longest term members of the Friends of Weston Shore, Councillor Warwick Payne.

Soon, a huge amount of rubbish had been cleared up and we were able to look back and see how clean the shore was afterwards. Thanks so much to everyone who took part. Special thanks to Southampton City Council for their kind assistance which makes the Big Beach Clean Up a possibility.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 22nd September, 7pm at Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 9FU. Please contact us at if you would like to come along or turn up on the day.

Below is a gallery of photos from the Big Beach Clean Up 2016 – click on the photos for a better look.

Cuttlefish and Carrots

A recent Sunday in May saw the Friends of Weston Shore spring into action once more and clear up a large amount of rubbish from the beach.

Finds of the day included lots of cotton buds and cans as usual.  The Friends noted a lot of cuttlefish washed up on the shore and, for some reason, an equally surprising amount of carrots.  We could only surmise that the carrots may have come from one of the cruise liners in Southampton at present. Perhaps a crate of them had been washed overboard in an accident.

Ian from Friends of Weston Shore found a cushion that appeared to be part of a settee washed up on the shore and bravely was able to haul this to our collection point. We concentrated on the area around the stream that crosses the shore near Westwood and in a few hours had helped the area look wonderfully pristine again.

The litter pick was great fun and we are now looking forward to our next one – the Big Beach Clean Up on Sunday 17th July 2016 starting at 10am near the Pitch & Putt course on Weston Shore, Southampton. We hope lots of people can join us on the day and look forward to seeing you then!


Wildlife Report for Friends of Weston Shore

The wildlife to be found on beautiful Weston Shore in Southampton is the focus of a new study commissioned by the local Friends group looking after the area. The Friends of Weston Shore’s report on the plants and animals has been written by professional Field Ecologist Philip Budd and is the result of many visits to the shore by Philip during 2015.

The Friends of Weston Shore’s report is centred on a list compiled by Philip of the species observed at the shore. In total, this is an astonishing 958 species of plants and animals! Weston Shore is clearly a rich habitat to be home to such a large and diverse range of species. This includes 21 species of butterfly, such as the Clouded Yellow, and 163 birds including the Stonechat and Common Whitethroat.   As well as being a beautiful place for people to visit, the report’s contents show how important Weston Shore is for nature.

The Friends of Weston Shore with their new Wildlife Report

The Friends of Weston Shore with their new Wildlife Report

Philip Budd, the author of the Wildlife Report

Philip Budd, the author of the Wildlife Report

The members of Friends of Weston Shore have been enjoying field trips to learn more about the wildlife to be found there with Philip. A walk along the shore with someone as knowledgeable as him highlights how the plants and animals live in an ecosystem. For example, small insects called coneheads (related to grasshoppers) live in the sea purslane found on the shore. As a group, the Friends have valued these visits and are hoping to have more in the future.

Copies of the survey are going to be made available soon so that more people can learn about the wildlife on Weston Shore and those who want to get invited are welcome to join the Friends of Weston Shore as they continue to find out more. The wildlife report was produced with help from Southampton City Council and Groundwork South.

For more information about the Friends of Weston Shore, please go to, follow them on twitter at @WestonShore or find them on Facebook. You can contact the Friends of Weston Shore by sending an email to

You can read the report by downloading it here :

Weston Shore Survey report for Friends of Weston Shore – Philip Budd – pdf format (1.71 MB)


The Big Beach Clean Up – Sunday 17 July 2016!

The crew of the Friends of Weston Shore are looking forward to this year’s Big Beach Clean Up, which is taking place on Sunday 17th July 2016.  We’ll be starting at 10am and carrying on until 1pm and the starting point will be near the Pitch and Putt Course on Weston Shore, near the On The Water Café.

It’s a great chance to get involved and help us in our quest to help keep beautiful Weston Shore as clean and litter free as we can.  Litter is of course unsightly and spoils what might be a wonderful, uplifting view of an area but it is also a serious problem for wildlife.  Birds and other sea life can get caught up in litter such as the plastic binding used for drinks’ cans.  Animals that live in the sea have been found to have eaten bits of the rubbish that ends up on our beaches.  By taking part in a litter pick you are helping to reduce this problem.


Adie Liddiard from Southampton’s Sunday Assembly on the left and Chris Hammond, City Councillor, on the right at a previous litter pick.

As well as the serious message, we also enjoy the litter pick and have a bit of fun dressing up as pirates.  If our volunteers want to get into spirit of things and dress up as well, that will add to the fun! Last year we had a number of children join in wearing fancy dress and we will have small pirate treats for children taking part (subject to availability).

A volunteer litter picker at Weston Shore.

The Friends of Weston Shore have been fascinated to learn more about the wildlife on the shore in recent years and we will have information about this available for those taking part in the litter pick as well. We are able to provide the equipment involved in the litter pick but those taking part should dress sensibly for the outdoors and in particular please wear appropriate footwear.

Please join us on the day and let’s hope for some good weather! If you would like more information about the litter pick please contact us at

If you would like to help us run the Big Beach Clean Up, please join us for our next meeting on Thursday 19th May 2016 starting at 7pm, at the Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 9FU.  All help is greatly appreciated!

The Big Beach Clean Up takes place with the kind assistance of Southampton City Council and Groundwork South.


Our next meeting – Thursday 18th February 7pm

Our next meeting will be on Thursday 18th February 2016 at 7pm and the venue is Woolston Community Centre, Church Road, Woolston, Southampton, SO19 9FU.  Everybody is welcome to join us!

We will be discussing our beach clean ups for the year, including our Big Beach Clean Up set for Sunday 17th July.  We will also be discussing our Wildlife Survey Report that we have received from ecologist Phil Budd.

Please do join us as you will be very welcome.

Winter Walk with Southampton Natural History Society

Shortly after Christmas, the Southampton Natural History Society and the Hampshire Ornithological Society had a walk along Weston Shore to take in the view and to spot any winter birds in the area.

We walked from the car park opposite the entrance to Westwood, along the shore up to Weston Yacht Club and then across the Conkerfield up to Netley Abbey.

It became clear that with the expertise in the group, they were able to spot a number of birds that others might have missed.  Collections of small birds were spotted in the trees lining the Weston Shore Link and the birds spotted included the long-tailed tit, goldcrest, redwing and even a buzzard.

The group later walked up into Westwood and sadly I had to leave them at that point.  It had been a really enjoyable stroll and it’s great that these nature groups take an interest in our beautiful beach. Some photos are included here; not of the birds we saw unfortunately as I wasn’t quick enough with my camera!

Looking back on 2015 for Friends of Weston Shore…

It has been a busy year that has seen the Friends of Weston Shore taking part in new areas of activity to advance our goals.

In February the group helped Southampton City Council in planting a number of sea buckthorns on the shore near Weston Yacht Club to help with sea defences. We were very pleased to take part as this was a bit different for us.

On a rather cold weekend in May we undertook a wildlife survey on Weston Shore. We were ably guided by Phil Budd from the Southampton Natural History Society and we found a number of interesting specimens including the Manila Clam, Irish Moss and Sea Beet. The group greatly values Phil’s time and effort in helping us learn more about the wildlife to be found on the shore. We have commissioned Phil to produce a report on the wildlife to be found on the shore and have been excited about receiving this.


The Friends of Weston Shore on the inter-tidal mudflats


May 2015 was particularly busy as we then had two litter picks on the shore in quick succession. The larger was in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Society and Marks & Spencer plc and lots of people were there to help take part. An interesting observation was that the beach further up towards Netley seemed more litter strewn than that the end towards Woolston.

A volunteer litter picker at Weston Shore

We had our own litter pick on the shore later in the month on a beautiful day and were joined by a local community group of eager volunteers.   The clean ups are having a positive effect on the shore especially alongside Richard’s regular litter picking.

The group was represented at the Southampton Bio-Blitz that took place at the University of Southampton. It was useful being there to show our support, to spread the word about the group and to network with other local groups including Sholing Valleys Study Centre and the Friends of Chessel Bay.

Richard and I went along for our annual walk along the shore in late June and as usual we seemed to time this to coincide with the rowing club’s annual regatta. During the walk we met a man who was a frequent visitor to the shore taking photos of the wildlife to be found there. He had told us of the time he had seen a deer by the pitch and putt course and on another occasion, a buzzard flying overhead.


After some preparations we then held our annual Big Beach Clean Up on Saturday 8th August on a blazingly sunny Saturday. It was an enjoyable day and the pirate theme added a touch of fun for both us and our wonderful volunteers, especially the children. This was heightened even further when Chris Smith, our deputy vice-chair, donned his fabulous parrot costume! Another special guest was award-winning sport volunteer John Sennett who was keen to try litter picking as a new type of volunteering.

Although the clean up had been a great day with lots of litter cleared up, attendance was lower than previous years and we wondered if this was because it was on a Saturday in contrast to our normal day of Sunday.   Another question for the group was whether we continue to use a pirate theme for the event and whether next year we also attempt to attract more families with children to the litter pick.

In October we were joined by new friends from Southampton Solent University in a beach clean up on a beautiful autumn day at the shore.   They were very enthusiastic and we managed to clear up a large amount of rubbish.


In November, our autumn litter pick was cancelled due to wet weather, although this did n’t hold Richard back from clearing up a number of bags of rubbish from the Conkerfield, for which we are very grateful.

Overall the year has been a busy one and it has been exciting seeing our aim of learning more about the wildlife on the shore develop. I hope this is something that continues to grow as we move into 2016!

Adam Manning

Friends of Weston Shore

19th December 2015