Bees are busy and so are we. These are my current projects, travel and landscape ideas and involvements that you might like to explore. Be busy! Jump in the waves here for the INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY and make a few more waves of your own.
Institute of Beachology
Long, Slow and Wiggly
Low Speed 2
National Park Cities
Scrumping the World's largest orchard
Eat the View
LAND TRUST (Member of Biodiversity, Ecology and Environment Advisory Group)
ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS (Fellow)
LANDSCAPE INSTITUTE (Fellow)
NATIONAL TRUST (Council Member) www.nationaltrust.org.
CANAL AND RIVER TRUST (Council Member) & (Environmental Advisory Group Member)
SALZBURG GLOBAL SEMINAR (Fellow)
WORLD URBAN PARKS (Member)
CENTRE FOR SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE (Trustee)
INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY
The Institute of Beachology is a space for everyone who loves beaches, studies beaches, works beaches or is inspired by beaches to create art.
How did this idea start? Obviously, it started on a beach, not any particular beach but rather a collective experience of beaches around the world. From the shining, squeaky, pure white silica of Hill Inlet on Whitsunday Island, Australia to the once coal blackened beaches of County Durham, England, featured in the bleak black and white gangster film 'Get Carter', to the huge tidal range of Mossyard in the Fleet estuary, Scotland and its abundant shellfish or the vast sandscape of the Baie de Mont St Michel, France. We all have a favourite beach. A landscape type at the margin of both land and water, beaches are the most accessible part of the shoreline of oceans, lakes and rivers and a natural place for humans to utilise for both food needs and pleasure but sometimes to thoughtlessly dump our waste.
The Institute aims to bring people and their interests in beaches together to share both their delight and sometimes despair. The planetary water cycle has many problems with pollution; much of it is our fault but it is also our problem to put right with creative ingenuity and more thoughtful consumerism.
Sharing information, ideas and knowledge can surely aid this process of doing the right thing for better beaches and purer water in all its forms.
We can do stuff in spades but the bucket stops here.
INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY
FOR FUN, WORKERS, SCIENCES, ARTS
INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY
Past, Present and Future Beaches
Most of the world's beaches in the past would have been a vital source of nomadic foraged food, a place for fishing by indigenous methods, or settlements (temporary or permanent) associated with accessing nature's wild harvest. Massive middens of discarded shellfish shells uncovered by archaeologists in many places indicate the scale of such associations over millennia. Some communities around the globe still exhibit these essential characteristics and types of livelihoods or self-sufficiency. However, this is now threatened by industrial over-fishing in the unregulated common that is the global ocean and the drifting masses of plastic waste and other man-made pollutants.
In an industrial (and in some places, post-industrial) world, beaches have become despoiled by extraction, manufacturing and development. In the UK conservation bodies like the National Trust have launched Enterprise Neptune to acquire natural coastal landscapes and beaches to prevent their despoliation and to make them available to everyone to treasure. In other places beaches around the globe have become foci for re-creation, therapy or pleasure-seeking to escape the pressures of working and living in an industrial environment and society. These seasonal mass-tourism migrations and annual holidays might indeed crudely mirror the trips made to beaches by our forebears following seasonal abundances of wild foods in estuaries, beaches and rocky shores. New forms of hedonistic beach enjoyment, relaxation and recreation arise regularly but servicing this unending demand places massive stress on the natural infrastructure of beach landscapes.
As global sea levels deviate from current levels, it may radically change our appreciation of beach landscapes. Earth's climate has been in constant flux throughout geological time; it is ever-changing. Since the last glacial maximum, about 20,000 years ago, sea level has risen roughly 410 feet. So the beaches of the last glacial period are deep beneath the waves today. Some modern era beaches may also disappear, along with whole low-lying islands, others could move sideways along the coasts. Coastal squeeze between hard man-made coastal protection zones will inevitably impact beach geomorphology. The economic sustainability of measures such as beach nourishment, beach replenishment, groynes and artificial reefs will be questioned. Ultimately, it will be nature that decides the balance, but some beach communities will be losers - although others may arise.
BEACH OF THE MONTH
COMPTON BAY, ISLE OF WIGHT, ENGLAND
Compton Bay is bounded to the east by Hannover Point, a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the three toed dinosaur footprint casts to be found on the beach. These are the fossilised calling cards of Iguanodon, a Cretaceous era plant-eating dinosaur
INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY
DEPOSIT SOMETHING IN THE KNOWLEDGE BANK
AND SHARE THE INTEREST WITH OTHERS!
'Turning the tide on plastic -How Humanity (and you) can make our globe clean again'; Siegle, Lucy; Trapeze Books 2018.
"Feisty excellent journalism, as you'd expect from Lucy Siegle, but also great practical ways we can all kick the plastic habit and start turning the tide." Kate Humble
Jaywick Sands, Essex is described as Britain's most deprived neighbourhood and the beach-side town has featured in Donald Trump's US election campaign materials. The community is trying to apply self-help techniques to improve its standing and sense of belief through the Happy Club. This report from the BBC describes the current situation.
Save our kelp to help fight climate change, says Sir David Attenboroughat the launch of the Help Our Kelpcampaign, where he said that the conservation and restoration of kelp forests are key in helping to tackle climate change. The piece in the Daily Telegraph says that storm damage, fishing and dredging off the coast of Sussex have damaged kelp forests in the area over the past 40 years, and globally kelp forests absorb 600 million tons of carbon - twice what the UK emits each year. The campaigners led by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine and the Marine Conservation Society - are supporting a new bye-law proposed by the Sussex IFCA to stop trawling within 4 km of the shore.
'Poorer people may be 42% less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues if they live within a mile of the coast'
states a report in MailOnline. Coverage of new research by the University of Essex which finds that lower-earning people were likely to report better mental wellbeing if they live within 0.6 miles of the coast. The findings indicate that this could be a 'protective' zone which could help to level the mental health playing field between high and low earners. The article highlights that while access to green spaces is clearly linked to improved mental wellbeing, the same link has not yet been conclusively proven with access to coastal areas. It highlights that these results come as Natural England prepares to open the English Coast Path to improve public access to coastal areas.
Archaeological evidence now suggests that our forebears were active beachcombers and free-divers for shells
to fashion into sharp tools to use in diverse processes. Catch it here:
INSTITUTE OF BEACHOLOGY
GLOBAL KNOW HOW
5 Gyres Institute
Bahamas Plastic Movement
Parley for the Oceans
Lonely Whale Foundation
Making Oceans Plastic Free
One Green Planet
Marine Conservation Society
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Porthleven Food Festival
Surfers Against Sewage
Royal Geographical Society
Royal National Lifeboat Institute
Alfred Wegener Institüt
The Ocean Cleanup
Plastic Soup Foundation
World Wide Fund for Nature
LONG, SLOW & WIGGLY
Fancy cycling the LONGEST STRAIGHT LINE IN BRITAIN? Yes? Fancy doing it on a folding bicycle at an average speed of no more than 5 mph and mainly off-road? Yes? Want to smell the wildflowers, stop to talk to folk, eat local food and taste the different waters? Yes? Want to start at Culver Point on the Isle of Wight and finish at the lighthouse at Cape Wrath, Scotland? Yes? Then LONG, SLOW & WIGGLY is the two week adventure through the soul of Britain made and ready for you to explore. If you cycle to Cape Wrath lighthouse you also become a member of a unique band of intrepid travellers 'The Cape Wrath Fellowship'. There is a big article in the CTC magazine CYCLE (awaiting permission to reprint here).Get a taste of the whole day to day experience at Planet Ranger:
SCROLL THROUGH MY PROJECTS TO READ MORE
AND MAKE CONNECTIONS
LOW SPEED 2
If you want to get from London to Birmingham by train 20 minutes quicker than you can already then you've come to the wrong webspace so go find HS2.
This space is the project home for getting from London to Birmingham as slowly as you want by bicycle, foot, kayak, canoe or SUP in a lovely wildflower meadow or following the World's longest linear orchard. This is LOW SPEED 2 (or as the Canal and River Trust like to call it 'Slow Speed too').
At the moment it is a concept based on the cheeky but hugely positive idea to piggy-back a sustainable travel and nature recovery network following the route of the Grand Union Canal and its immediate landscape hinterland. It sits in contrast to High Speed 2, one of England's largest ever rail construction projects costing somewhere in the region of £105 billion and potentially destroying many ancient woodlands and other much loved landscape features and housing in London.
Keep coming back as the idea grows
NATIONAL PARK CITIES
Dan Raven Ellison, self-described guerrilla geographer and National Geographic Explorer woke up one day and imagined Greater London as a National Park. "Why not?" said Dan.
Catch Dan here:
"Lots of tedious legislation would get in the way" said Duncan Mackay and his colleagues, "but, if you added the word 'city' to National Park, you could make up your own rules', said Duncan.
Four years later the Mayor of London and the Greater London National Park City Foundation launched the World's First National Park City. Now Adelaide, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Singapore, Glasgow and the West Midlands want to follow this brilliant, people and nature-powered, idea and transform their urban spaces and surrounding hinterlands or Green Belts. "Nature doesn't stop at borders" said Dan. Connect to the London National Park City here:
In September 2019 Julian Glover delivered a commissioned Review of Protected Landscapes to the British government. In it he very warmly welcomed such innovations and suggested that a new National Landscape Service would want to include them in its programmes to connect the tens of millions of British urban people to the wonders of nature and make beautiful landscapes close to where they live.
THE WORLD'S LARGEST
YES, you know it! It's hiding in plain sight. That's right - SUBURBAN GARDENS. The scattered apples and pear trees of these once productive cottage gardens now turned to lawns, patios, paddling pool and trampoline sanctuaries are dropping wasted fruit all over the place. Much of it just rots, gets sent to landfill or municipal composting centres. THIS SUCH A WASTE! However, with a small amount of effort and a modicum of equipment this malic treasure-trove can be repurposed into delicious juice, fruit pies, dried fruit and cider.
The idea created the twinkle for a submission to the Henry Ford European Conservation Award for Heritage and won the first prize in 1995-96. Spurred by this success and the continuing brilliance of the ideas factory that was Common Ground with the launch of APPLE DAY an ABC book on the subject of POMOLOGY began to bubble up. When it was fully fermented it was published by Two Rivers Press as 'Apples, Berkshire, Cider'. The late, great Pete Hay did the superb artwork and Pip Hall
http://www.piphall.co.uk/ laboriously but beautifully hand lettered the entire book
(see her Stanza Stones with Poet Laureate Simon Armitage)
APPLES, BERKSHIRE, CIDER is sadly out of print but copies do turn up on Amazon or other pre-loved book sites.
TWO RIVERS PRESS can be contacted here:https://tworiverspress.com/about/
COMMON GROUND is archived but can be visited here
FORAGING NATURE'S WILD HARVEST
It started by collecting wild rosehips as a child. We were paid 3 old English pennies for each pound weight of the ripe fruits of wild roses growing gnarled and viciously spined in the footpath and roadside hedgerows. The price per bleeding scratch was small compensation. The rosehips were collected at schools and if you brought in more hips that any other bleeding child in your school you got a badge. Call it child labour exploitation. Somebody was clearly having a laugh.
The point of all the bloodshed was to supply the Delrosa rosehip syrup factory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne which dispensed its sugary goodness to pregnant women and new mothers to boost their vitamin C. So that's alright then.
Obviously, there are many more wild foods to harvest. You can follow the seasons from spring to winter by looking out for what is good to eat month by month and storing any seasonal abundance. You can add to your wild larder some long-storing items like rose hip syrup. This will last all year to bring autumn sweetness to porridge or rosy-orange dribbles over ice-cream.
The autumn is the most productive season for foraging with fungi, nuts, berries all tempting more trips out to the woods, hedgerows and meadows in search of natural goodness. See EAT WILD for a beginner's guide. Get hold of Roger Phillips as one of the best identification books to make sure you do not make any unfortunate mistakes.
The natural environment has always been a creative stimulus to the senses and to the urge to transform certain places with sympathetic (or shocking) adornment or interpretation.
Many artists of the likes of James Turrell, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Long or Antony Gormley have applied their intellects, hearts and hands into reshaping outdoor places.
In many small ways I have been doing this all my life and working with indigenous materials and seasons or tides to create transient structures taken by the sea or that remain for a moment or two longer in time. Many years hanging around with the genius arts and environment factory that was the body called COMMON GROUND has greatly influenced my imagination and the possibilities to celebrate and create LOCAL DISTINCTIVENESS
I NOW WANT TO DO MORE. Contact me if you want to make something happen that deserves gentle, intelligent, creative celebration.
Dyth da! Down in Kernow/Cornwall my mate Will Coleman is creating the World's biggest labyrinth. It's huge. It will be created entirely out of Cornish Hedges, made by artisans working with young apprentices and children extending skills, knowledge and folklore as well as throwing skywards a new habitat for plants, insects, mosses, fungi and animals. It will bring spectacular meanderings and meditative land art to the middle of Bodmin Moor (albeit conveniently close to the A30 for visitors). Want to know more? Put your intellectual fog lamps on and visit KERDROYA at
THE UN-ENCLOSURE MOVEMENT
Old commons are the traditional way of managing land in a totally sustainable way with collective control by common right holders sharing with a landowner ideas on environmental capacity, annual harvesting limits and good management. These old commons were and are relicts of the medieval feudal system in Europe and exported to the USA when emigrants left to start new lives and took their traditions with them.
New commons are a re-incarnation and re-creation of such land management and fully supported in England and Wales by existing property law.
Professor Chris Rodgers at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne Law School and I have been exploring the legal possibilities to register the First New Common in the World in the Twenty-first Century . We want to work with benevolent public-spirited land-owners like the Land Trust to set the ball rolling. We know others will follow this great idea.
We have a 'How to' guide and academic papers. Contact us to learn more or read the article here:
EAT THE VIEW
EAT THE VIEW was a project originally created by the now defunct COUNTRYSIDE AGENCY to make the links between the character of different landscapes, the types of food they naturally produce (attuned to climate, elevation and soil) and the local economies they support. It is a great circular idea that owes much to the French concept of terroir.
This project can engineer a greater appreciation of landscape and seascapes by exploring and understanding the smallest of details that integrate in the composition of a view. The good news is that you also get to eat or drink the produce that grows out of these magnificent variations in 'place'. The main documentation has been archived by Natural England and can be seen here: