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Help out with a beach clean

Volunteers pick litter on a beach clean in Woolacombe, Devon in
Volunteers on a beach clean in Woolacombe, Devon in | © National Trust Images/Mel Peters

We care for around 780 miles of coastline, which provides havens for wildlife as well as beautiful beaches for everyone to enjoy. The unusual items found around the country show the sheer scale of the problem and we need your help to clear up the rubbish that washes up on our shores.

How to get involved in a beach clean

We run events up and down the country throughout the year. If you'd like to lend a hand to keep these places special, why not join in with one of our regular beach cleans? Search for volunteering opportunities at a beach near you

Thank you to all our volunteer beach cleaners

Thank you for helping us keep your favourite beaches clean and tidy. We would like to thank all the visitors and volunteers who have done their bit to clear litter from the beaches we love. All your hard work means the coastal places we look after are safer for wildlife and more beautiful to visit.

Volunteer holding small fragments of plastic found during The Big Beach Clean at Woolacombe, North Devon
Volunteer holding small fragments of plastic found during The Big Beach Clean at Woolacombe, North Devon | © National Trust Images/Mel Peters

Unusual beach finds

Cleaning up our coastline has never been more important. Our list of the top 20 most unusual things found on the beaches we care for shows the scope of the challenge, with rubbish coming from as far afield as Canada, Saudi Arabia and the Caribbean.

Some of the items discovered are decades old, including a ‘Claws’ crisp packet from 1976 and a bottle of rum from post-Prohibition America, both found at Formby near Liverpool.

A council bin travelled 70 miles along the River Nene to Blakeney Point, a peaceful coastal spot known for its population of grey seals. And a cargo lost at sea in 1994 means that thousands of pieces of nautical-themed Lego have been arriving on beaches ever since.

Phil Dyke, Coastal Specialist at the National Trust, said: 'As weird and wonderful as these items are, they tell a more serious story about the permanent nature of plastic, and the constant deluge of marine waste and litter arriving on our shores.'

Removing harmful plastics, bits of lost fishing gear and polluting domestic rubbish from our beaches will help to ensure that seals and seabirds don’t get entangled, fish and other marine animals don’t swallow pieces of plastic and that we have beautiful clean beaches for our holidays.

A quote by Sue WellsNational Trust Marine Project Manager

Unusual items found

A can of Russian bug spray found washed up at Orford Ness
A can of Russian bug spray found washed up at Orford Ness | © National Trust

Bug spray from Russia

This can of bug spray from Russia found its way to the shores of Orford Ness

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Each year thousands of volunteers join us in caring for all the special places you love.

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