Picking up rubbish wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of fun. But Kate Humble is more than a little excited about the prospect of collecting litter.
The TV presenter and ambassador of Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project – a nationwide initiative to keep the UK’s beaches ‘barefoot friendly’ – is coming to Hengistbury Head on Friday, June 6 as part of the campaign.
She will be visiting six beaches during the 14-event nationwide clean-up operation, now in its seventh year, and is hugely enthusiastic about getting people on board to “take ownership” of their coastline.
“For me, this campaign is a brilliant way of engaging people in just how special our coast and beaches and marine life are,” she tells Seven Days.
“It’s a lovely excuse to come down to the beach. It’s that lovely thing of people coming together and people doing something positive for their beach and for their marine wildlife. It makes an enormous difference.”
As a diver and marine wildlife fan, Kate is obviously concerned about the effects of litter on the birds and creatures which inhabit our coastline.
But she admits the OCD in her also delights in clearing up mess.
“There’s nothing more rewarding when you sit on a beach that’s been messed up,” she says.
“If we’ve got a great army of volunteers on the beach, all of us together, I’m going to be there with my rubber gloves on and clearing rubbish and, at the end of the day, we can turn round and say ‘what an amazing difference’.”
Kate believes we all need to be more pro-active about ensuring both locals and visitors to the Dorset coastline are involved in keeping our beaches “barefoot friendly”.
She said: “What I like about these beach cleans is it allows people to take ownership of their own beach. If people have been down and taken the time and effort to clean up their beach, they’re going to be a little braver about saying to people ‘hang on a minute, pick that up’.
“I think it’s completely acceptable for someone to go up to someone that litters and say ‘I’m sorry, can you pick that up’.
“It’s not just having litter around and the danger, but do you want to take kids down the beach? It’s in everybody’s interest, whether they’re wildlife nuts or not, to look after their beaches.”
Kate has not visited Hengistbury Head before, but has fond memories of Dorset having filmed Autumn Watch on Brownsea Island in 2008, working with the RSPB in the area and making a film about lizards in Bournemouth.
“You’ve got some magnificent nature reserves in your area,” she remembers.
“You don’t think about chucking rubbish in there, because you can see it and it looks horrible and it has an impact on the birds and animals that live in that reserve.
“People don’t think about that in the sea. People look at the sea and think of it as a great big body of water. They don’t think it’s one of our most diverse wildlife habitats.”
Kate is now working hard to promote the beach clean campaign and rally the troops to join her at Hengistbury Head to make a difference.
“It’s a really special part of the country and it’s going to be lovely to come back to one of the finest stretches of coastline,” she said.
“The great thing about these events is that people don’t have to bring any special equipment with them. It’s amazing. You get a gang of people on a beach for a couple of hours and it will make the most tremendous difference.”
- Kate Humble and the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project will be at Hengistbury Head on Friday, June 6 at 2pm