Telling Neptune's story 50 years on
Over the past 50 years, the people-powered Neptune Coastline Campaign has enabled us to buy 574 miles of glorious coastline; securing these special places for all to enjoy. Today we look after 780 miles of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Hundreds of thousands of people have donated to our coastal appeals or supported our work on the coast, so future generations can enjoy this beautiful, dramatic and diverse landscape.
We go to the coast to play, to relax and to connect with the natural world and the elements. Days at the seaside or walks along coastal cliffs are deeply engrained in our collective memory, and we need to cherish them.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Neptune campaign, we've launched the next phase of our coastal vision and our 2015 Coast Campaign.
Five decades of our coastal story
The first site we ever acquired, thanks to the Neptune Coastline Campaign, was Whiteford Burrows on the Gower peninsula in South Wales, in 1965.
The Needles' coastline on the Isle of Wight is a breathtaking place. We acquired this site with the Old and New Battery in 1975.
Studland Bay on the Dorset coast attracts 1 million visits a year and was bought by us in the 1980s.
We bought Souter Lighthouse in 1990. It was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity. This stretch of urban coast in Sunderland is rich in wildlife.
Wembury on the Devon coast was acquired in 2005. This coastline has dramatic clifftop views, some of the best rock pools in the country and access to beautiful countryside.
A one-mile stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover was bought by us in 2012 following a big appeal. This enigmatic landscape overlooking the English Channel is one of our most magnificent coastal sites.
Our newest coastal acquisition in 2015 is the Great Orme in North Wales, announced as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neptune Coastline Campaign. The Great Orme site, next to Llandudno town, includes the 140-acre Parc Farm with spectacular views of the Welsh coast.
Did you know?
- We own 780 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (574 miles of this has been bought since 1965)
- Golden Cap in Dorset is the highest point on the south coast of England
- The first ever National Trust parcel of land was a place could Dinas Oleu – a coastal slope overlooking Barmouth in North Wales
- In the UK, no one lives more than 75 miles from the sea
- The first coastal place acquired by the Neptune Coastline Campaign was the beautiful Whiteford Burrows on the Gower peninsula in South Wales
- Every mile of coastal footpath that we look after costs us £3,000 each year
- More than 90 per cent of donations to the Neptune Coastline Campaign were from people leaving us a gift in their will
Our work so far
Acquiring areas of our coast that are at risk is still crucial to our ongoing Coast Campaign. We also need to manage our coastline in a sympathetic and sustainable way, to allow inevitable changes to take place gradually. By using natural ways of dealing with rising sea levels, we can continue to have access to a rich and diverse coastline – now, and for years to come.
The Neptune Coastline Campaign was active in implementing various creative approaches to managing coastal change. South Milton Sands was one such example. The results from this Neptune project created a harmonious sense of nature evolving, and inspired an enthusiastic response from locals and visitors. However, all such projects require time, expertise, and funding.
What we're planning next for coastal conservation
Managing the 780 miles of coastline that we look after comes at considerable cost. The focus for our Coast Campaign now hangs on the maintenance of every mile in our care. In addition to the vast commitment to ongoing management, 60 per cent of the Trust’s coast is at risk of erosion and flooding in the 21st century.
We need to assess each site individually; judge how we can best work with natural processes to achieve long-term sustainable approaches to managing coastal change; consider how to encourage wildlife and natural habitat; anticipate coastal pressure points and look into possible acquisition of surrounding land and coastline; all the while sensitively working with local communities.