Storm Emma's mark at Llanbedrog beach

Old rusted metal uncovered by a storm at Llanbedrog beach, Gwynedd
Published : 16 Mar 2018 Last update : 17 May 2018

In March, storm Emma washed away two foot of sand and uncovered tonnes of buried rubbish at Llanbedrog beach.

We have since coordinated a major clean-up operation using heavy machinery, an industrial sieve and countless litter picks by staff, volunteers and the local community.

Andy Godber, Llŷn Countryside Manager said, “It has been a challenging couple of months. At times the beach was literally glistening with sharp glass. We’d pick it all up and a few days later, after another high tide or poor weather there would be more, which as you can imagine was very disheartening. But the support by the local community in particular, has been invaluable and really lifted our spirits and strengthened our sense of resolve.”

As the rubbish was buried some time ago, it was difficult to establish the extent of the issue. Local contractors were drafted in several times with heavy machinery to remove over 600 tonnes of sand, which had burnt metal and broken glass mixed in. This was then sifted through a special industrial sieve on-site and thanks to this technology we have been able to return 450 tonnes of litter free sand, back to the beach. 

Andy added, “Unfortunately nature has not replenished the rest of the lost sand as quickly as we’d hoped and as such it won’t be safe enough to return the beach huts to the shore this season, as they would be likely to flood at high tides. They will remain in the car park, providing visitors with a colourful welcome. This does mean that the capacity of the car park is reduced, so we recommend arriving early to avoid disappointment.”

Having removed over 50 tonnes of rubbish from the beach, we are now confident that the risk from sharp edges is minimal and no higher than you’d expect from a normal beach.

After warning against walking barefoot or allowing children to play and dig in the sand for two months whilst the clean-up operation took place; visitors should be able to enjoy the feel of the sand between their toes at Llanbedrog this summer.

Andy concluded, “We’d like to say a huge heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who have helped with so many additional litter picks, helping to remove over 10 tonnes of rubbish from the beach by hand. They’ve given so many hours up and it really has meant a lot to us.

We inherited this problem and by working together we’ve been able to resolve it. I think that speaks volumes and really emphasises the need for us to take better care of our planet today, so that we can be proud of what the next generation will inherit.”