Weston Shore is a beautiful stretch of shore in Southampton running from Southampton Sailing Club at the end of Victoria Road in Woolston, down to Netley Castle. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is of international importance for the large numbers of wading birds that are attracted to its inter-tidal mudflats.
It is also of historic interest. The area has been carefully managed by the Council to encourage a variety of flora and wildlife to flourish, and to provide a splendid natural recreational area for city residents. Recently the area was awarded the prestigious Green Flag.
Friends of Weston Shore is a small, constituted friends’ group of local residents supported by Groundwork Solent and Southampton City Council. Our aim is to support the Council, by helping in protecting and enhancing the area for all to enjoy, and also protecting and encouraging the wide variety of flora and fauna.
We organise an annual ‘Big Beach Clean Up’ in August when we invite members of the public to help in clearing Weston Shore area of litter and rubbish. Last year we were very pleased to welcome fifty extra people to join the group’s members in the cleanup, gathering a large pile of full litter bags to be removed and leaving a sparklingly clean shore! Each year we also hold two beach clean up events for group members only and individual members go out litter picking in their own time. Other events have included a book reading at the shore by a local author, a walk and helping at the annual `Talk Like a Pirate` day for families held in September at the children’s playground on the Shore.
These activities enable us to promote awareness amongst the wider public of the significance of the site, and also to notify the Council of any problems (including graffiti, litter, erosion) that we encounter.
In January this year, we were delighted to hear that Southampton City Council had awarded the group a grant of £1,092 from the Community Chest Fund to be used towards running costs and equipment. We are extremely grateful for this generous grant, which will enable the group to continue and extend its activities over the next two years, and hopefully increase membership from the local community. An exciting aspect to the grant is that the Council’s Planning Ecologist, Lindsay McCulloch, will be liasing with us about projects and there will be possibilities for environmental training opportunities for the group.