Category Archives: Coast

READY, SET, HERITAGE!

Do you want to find out more about the hidden heritage in North Devon? A new Coastal Heritage project is currently underway led by the new North Devon Coast AONB Heritage Officer, Joe Penfold. Joe has spent the last five years working for the Shropshire Hills AONB Partnership where he helped to conserve, enhance and celebrate the local historical features.

Within North Devon Joe plans to use his previous knowledge and skills to develop opportunities for volunteers to train in the use of practical archaeological skills as well as to conserve and assess the condition of the heritage sites with a particular-focus on coastal hillforts, the history of Hartland and World War II features.

Joe Penfold, AONB Heritage Officer said, “The North Devon coast is a treasure trove of landmarks, stories and events from a bygone age. Getting involved in the Coastal Heritage project is a great way to meet new people, to learn something new about the landscape and to take action to conserve it. I will also be offering work experience placements to any budding archaeologists in the area.”

In addition to the practical aspects of this project Joe will produce new interpretation materials and organise heritage related talks and walks for those living in the area to better understand and enjoy the history that matters to them. A key element of the project is also to support community-led activities and celebrations such as next year’s 75th D-Day Commemorations.

The project is being delivered and funded by local partners working with the AONB team including Devon County Council’s Heritage Team, the National Trust, North Devon Archaeological Society, North Devon Council’s Museum Development Officer, Torridge District Council and Hartland Parish Council.

Jenny Carey-Wood, AONB Manager, said, “We have some fantastic hidden heritage across North Devon and we welcome Joe’s skills and experience to engage local people and visitors in discovering more about our coastal history.”

This winter there will be opportunities to get involved in the project across North Devon. If you have a passion for heritage and would like to know more please visit the website www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk or email us aonb@devon.gov.uk.

Photo: Digging at Clovelly Dykes

FUNDING BOOST FOR COAST EXPLORERS EXHIBITION

There’s something fishy going on at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon.

The popular undersea world at the museum is being redeveloped and will make a welcome return to the museum when it reopens, thanks to a funding boost from the North Devon Coast Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The museum has been awarded a £4,000 grant from the AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund, which is funded by DEFRA, to help people understand the fantastic wildlife along the coast. The funding will be used to transform the undersea display into a more interactive exhibition, making use of the museum’s  precious specimens and introducing digital elements to engage visitors.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Brian Moores, says: “The old undersea room was a big hit with young visitors and the museum team wanted to keep its immersive feel, but make it more interactive and up to date. Following consultation with Coastwise, a local volunteer group which both monitors and educates people about our coastal environment, the new Coast Explorers idea was born. The new exhibition will include portholes into the undersea section to enable good views of existing specimens, as if you are in a submarine. It will include many more interactive opportunities to learn about our coastal creatures.”

Coast Explorers will include a section about the important coastal environment of Braunton Burrows and also provide an introduction to North Devon’s internationally designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  The new gallery will encourage people to explore, learn about and care for our important natural and historic assets, including discussion of topical issues such as plastics in our seas.

AONB Manager, Jenny Carey-Wood, says: “We are delighted to support this new exhibition at the museum covering the wildlife, sea creatures and birds found along the outstanding coast of North Devon. The display will help children and adults to make the connection between what they do and the nature all around them, so they can enjoy its beauty and look after it for future generations.”

Follow the progress of the museum’s new extension project, including behind the scenes photos and information about the new displays at www.barnstaplemuseumblog.wordpress.com.

Top: Design for the new Coast Explorers exhibit.

 

SALAD DAYS HUT RECOGNISED IN ‘LOVE YOUR HUT’ AWARDS

Following on from previous tourism award, Salad Days Beach Hut at Dunster Beach has now been recognised in the Love your Hut of the Year competition, coming 3rd in the converted national contest, with beach huts at Mudeford in Dorset and Dovercourt in Essex taking 1st and 2nd place.

Run by the Yorkshire-based specialist hut insurance company, ‘Love your Hut’, the competition is open to entries from all kinds of huts including chalets, beach huts and shepherds huts from all over the UK.

“To be ranked so highly in a major national competition is such an honour, but it does also recognise how far the humble beach hut has come since its lowly beginnings as a Victorian bathing machine,’’ said Brett Bates, co-owner of Salad Days (above).

Salad Days has received numerous accolades since launching in 2016 and has been incredibly successful, having being fully booked for the last two years with many guests returning. Previous awards won include: 2017/18 Visit England Dog Friendly Business of the Year, 2017/18 South West Dog Friendly & Self Catering Business of the Year, 2017/18 Bristol, Bath & Somerset Self Catering & Dog Friendly Business of the Year and 2016/17 Bristol, Bath & Somerset Dog Friendly Business of the Year.

The beach hut has also been ranked by Visit England as 5 stars for the last 2 years, the only beach hut to receive this ranking in the UK. It is 1 of around 260 beach huts at Dunster Beach, a large proportion of which are still holiday lets. Traditionally Dunster Beach has welcomed holidaymakers since the 1930s, and Brett Bates and Susan Juggins are continuing this tradition with Salad Days by offering a high standard of accommodation in a quintessential British beach hut. Brett said, “Our new hut ‘Holi Moli’ – due to be available to rent in March –  is intended to follow in the footsteps of Salad Days, but has some big shoes to fit into, we owe it to Dunster Beach to make sure the huts just get better and better, so watch this space.”

All of the entrants in this year’s ‘Love your Hut’ competition can be seen on the @LoveyourHutoftheYear Instagram page at www.instagram.com/loveyourhutoftheyear

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX IN MINEHEAD

This is a press release issued by West Somerset Council.

A functional but far from glamorous green box on Minehead seafront is all set for a makeover – and the hunt is on for the talent to do it.

Wessex Water has agreed that its equipment box near the Jubilee Gardens Café can feature a new cover as part of the Eastern Esplanade enhancement.

As a result, Minehead Coastal Communities Team is launching a competition for a design on the theme of ‘Maritime Minehead by the Sea’.

Minehead’s prosperity was closely bound up with the sea and for more than 200 years the port was second in local importance only to Bristol. Minehead offers traditional seaside fun, with its promenade, a beautiful bay with sandy beach and a backdrop of Exmoor.

Budding artists from the community now have the chance to design their ideas or memories of how they portray Maritime Minehead in a graphic style than can be transferred to a cover for the equipment box.

The closing date for entries is noon on September 30 and they will be judged by at least three representatives from Minehead Town Council, the Coastal Communities Team and Swan Paul Architects.

“People often comment on the dilapidated state of the box. This is a great opportunity for local artists to transform it into something that shows more of Minehead’s seaside heritage, whilst retaining its functionality. I look forward to seeing the results,” said Katrina Midgley, who chairs the Coastal Communities Team in Minehead.

Enterprising Minehead is a partnership project involving West Somerset Council, Minehead Coastal Communities Team (MCCT) and partners including representatives from the business, voluntary and leisure sectors.

The project aims to make the most of Minehead’s traditional appeal as a seaside resort – but making sure it is fit for the twenty-first century.

The design will be transferred to flat vinyl, stickyback panels which will be fixed to the box. Full details of the competition rules and ‘Appendix A’ containing the design layout can be found at mineheadcct.co.uk.

Completed entries can be emailed to tender@westsomerset.gov.uk or alternatively sent by post to Minehead Esplanade Equipment Box Design Competition, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, TA4 4QA.

DON’T RISK YOUR LIFE IN HARBOUR

This is a press release issues by West Somerset Council.

Please don’t risk your life is the warning being issued by West Somerset Council after two young men got into serious difficulties in Watchet Harbour. The pair were rescued by a passing boat and were given emergency CPR by the boat owner and a member of Watchet Coastguard before being taken to hospital by ambulance.

The incident has prompted a warning from West Somerset Council’s assistant harbour master, Craig Butler, who said: “It’s so sad that this incident happened at the end of a fantastic summer in Watchet.

“The harbour is an extremely dangerous place to swim or to jump into from the harbour walls. The Bristol Channel has strong currents, extreme tidal ranges and there’s also danger from marine traffic.

“We work with HM Coastguard, Police and the Sea Scouts to spread the message in schools and to highlight the risks.

“I take health and safety extremely seriously for harbour users and the public that frequent the harbour all year round. As harbour master I wish both young men a full recovery and really hope they and others will learn from this very serious incident.”

Cllr Martin Dewdney, West Somerset Council’s Cabinet member for Resources, said: “It is extremely dangerous to jump into the water at any harbour as there are numerous hazards. There is sensible advice on our website: www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk/Environment/Harbours/Beach-Safety so I would urge people to enjoy our coastal areas – but to do so safely.

“Water depth changes with the tide, the water may be shallower than it seems and submerged objects may not be visible, the shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim and strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.”

THREE RECENT NEWS RELEASES FROM ILFRACOMBE RNLI

Ilfracombe RNLI has been having a busy time of it recently. Here are three stories which they have released in the last week or so…

Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat assists exhausted single-handed sailor

Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat (ALB) launched at 3.35pm on Thursday 23 August to go to the assistance of an exhausted single-handed sailor.

The lone yachtsman was struggling to make headway towards a safe harbour in the three-metre waves and near gale-force wind. As he was suffering the effects of fatigue, he asked for assistance when the deteriorating weather halted his progress in the area of Copperas Buoy near Combe Martin.

The ALB Stormrider, on relief at Ilfracombe, immediately launched and reached the scene within ten minutes. Crew member Andy Day was placed aboard the vessel to connect a tow line. The yacht was then towed back to the safety of Ilfracombe harbour.

Andrew Bengey, volunteer RNLI coxswain at Ilfracombe, said: “This was an unfortunate position for the casualty to find themselves in. The weather had been deteriorating throughout the day and he had simply become exhausted attempting to fight through it.

“The casualty was carrying a means of calling for help which meant he could contact the Coastguard as soon as he required assistance. The RNLI always advises that you carry a VHF radio and preferably a waterproof one. We also ask that you check the weather and tide conditions before you set off and get regular updates if you’re planning to be out for any length of time.”

PHOTO: The single-handed sailor being towed to safety (courtesy RNLI).

Busy night for Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboats

Just the next evening, on 24 August, the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) and inshore lifeboat (ILB) were launched to two separate incidents.

The ALB Stormrider was launched at 10.15pm on Friday evening to a 41ft-motor cruiser which had become overwhelmed by the five-metre seas and very strong wind in the area of Foreland Point near Lynmouth.

The three people on board were exhausted and suffering the effects of seasickness, so volunteer crew member Matt Glubb was placed aboard the vessel to attach a tow line. The vessel was then towed the some 16 miles back to Ilfracombe harbour and secured to a mooring in the outer harbour.

Half an hour after the ALB was launched, the ILB Deborah Brown II was launched to a yacht that had run aground in the outer harbour. Due to the dropping tide, the yacht was beginning to list heavily so a tow line was attached to the vessel to attempt to pull it free from its position.

However, the yacht was too far aground to be towed clear so the volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew stayed with the single-handed yachtsman over low water to ensure his safety and that his yacht refloated without damage. As soon as there was enough water, the yacht was then towed clear of the beach and safely anchored.

Chris Wallis, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Ilfracombe, said: “This was a busy night for our volunteer crew at Ilfracombe and they faced some very adverse conditions. The RNLI always advises that you check the tide times and weather conditions before setting off on any venture and always carry a means of calling for help.”

Meet the final #RNLITopDog Louie!

Louie, a collie cross, is reminding dog owners what to do if their dog does get into difficulty at the coast.

The RNLI, with Louie’s help, is asking dog owners to remember never to paddle after their dog if it swims out too far. Instead, move to a place the dog can reach safely and call them – most can and will get to safety on their own. If not, however, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Simon Hannaford, RNLI community safety officer, said: “Often when a dog does get into difficulty, the owners want to help them but, in doing so, put themselves into more danger. We ask that you never enter the water after your furry friend but instead call for help.”

In June, two visitors to Whistand Bay in Cornwall did just that after their dog Barney became cut off by the tide chasing seagulls. Barney’s owners immediately contacted the lifeguards on duty for assistance instead of attempting to reach him themselves.

Due to the weather conditions, the only way to reach Barney was by boat so RNLI lifeguards Charlie Gillett and Joe Saunders immediately launched the inshore rescue boat (IRB) to bring Barney back to safety ashore.

Charlie, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, says: “Barney’s owners here acted exactly as we advise and, instead of going in after Barney, called us for assistance. This incident was a lucky escape for Barney as the tide was coming in very quickly.”

Louie’s fellow #RNLITopDog Buddy advises dog owners to always check the tide times and weather conditions before setting off to save getting caught out. The first #RNLITopDog Dash reminded dog owners to take the lead; when walking near cliff edges always keep your dog on a lead.

Simon continues: “This is the last campaign picture featuring our three #RNLITopDogs so please share their posts across your social media channels to spread these important messages throughout the south west. Please remember that, here at the RNLI, we think you’re a top dog so don’t risk your life.”

 

 

MAN FINED FOR TOMBSTONING FROM ILFRACOMBE HARBOUR

This is a press release issue by North Devon Council

North Devon Council has successfully prosecuted a man for ‘tombstoning’ from Ilfracombe Harbour.

 On 31 July magistrates at Barnstaple heard that Luke Harris, aged 24 of Oliver Road, Barnstaple, had been seen naked and in full view of families and children on South Quay on Sunday 8 July. He ignored requests by the Deputy Harbourmaster to get dressed, and instead jumped into the water five metres below. Two other young men were also swimming in the harbour, and all were shouting and swearing.

As a result of his actions, which were in contravention of the swimming byelaw that exists at the harbour, Mr Harris was fined £250 and ordered to pay the victim’s surcharge of £30 and £60 costs.

Ilfracombe Harbourmaster, Georgina Carlo-Paat, says: “Not only is tombstoning in the harbour extremely dangerous, it is also against the law. Jumping from the harbour walls may seem like good fun, but people who do this are risking their own lives. The harbour structures themselves can be dangerous, with chains and protrusions that can cause injury before someone has even hit the water. The water depth alters with the tide and water may be shallower than it seems, with submerged objects like rocks beneath the water. Boats and ships come in and out of the harbour all the time, and currents can be strong, even when the water appears calm.

“The risk is even higher when the participants have been drinking heavily. I hope that this prosecution sends out a clear message to the public that tombstoning will not be tolerated at the harbour; together with the police and CCTV evidence, we will continue to monitor this behaviour and tackle it before somebody gets seriously hurt, or worse.”

The penalty for jumping off the harbour can be up to a £1,000 fine upon prosecution.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN RESCUED OR HAD A NEAR-MISS IN OR BY THE SEA?

As part of a new project aimed at reducing coastal drowning across Devon and Cornwall, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is inviting members of the public who have been rescued from the sea, or anyone who has had a ‘near miss’, to come forward and share their experiences.

Through the Design Out Drowning project, research will be undertaken and new solutions sought to reduce the number of people who drown around the coast.

A key element of the research process will involve exploring and analysing stories from people who have been rescued – or those who have almost come to harm – from the sea around Devon and Cornwall.

Cornwall-based company Made Open Communications Ltd is supporting the project and will be carrying out research to identify any potential new opportunities for products and services that could be introduced to help reduce drowning. This research will include talking to people who have been rescued from the sea, or those who have had a ‘near miss’ or witnessed other people coming to harm around the coastline of Devon and Cornwall.

Will Roberts, RNLI Senior Innovation Manager, said: “The RNLI is committed to reducing coastal drowning. From our prevention and education work, to the vital role of our beach lifeguards and our 24/7 search and rescue lifeboat service, we work hard to ensure people stay as safe as possible around the coast.

“Through the Design Out Drowning project, we’re keen to see if there are any new sustainable initiatives, products or services that could be implemented around Devon and Cornwall that could prevent people from coming to harm in the future.

“Our research team is really keen to hear from anyone who has been rescued from the sea or almost come to harm along the coast of Devon and Cornwall. Their insights might help us to identify interventions that could be put in place to reduce the chances of someone else coming to harm.”

To share an experience, members of the public can contact the research team on 01872 862547, or complete a short online survey at designoutdrowning.org/survey.

NEW GRANT TO PAY FOR WATCHET SUMMERTIME FESTIVAL

Watchet Coastal Community Team (CCT) is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £4,200 by the Big Lottery’s Awards for All. The bid for the grant had been put together by a team comprising Watchet CCT, Watchet Summertime, Halsway Manor and Pebbles Cider bar, and is intended to celebrate the heritage of Watchet. The activities will be run by Watchet Summertime, and will include music, walks and workshops to celebrate Watchet’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.

The Watchet Summertime Team have been beavering away and, thanks to this grant and local sponsorship, the activities can now be seen in the brochure and posters which are being widely disseminated.

Music

The week starts (11 August) with a concert in St Decuman’s Church by the well-regarded Kitty Macfarlane, who is supported by Hannah Cumming and Jon Dyer (both of whom played a fantastic concert last at St Decuman’s last year).

The week continues with lots more music, starting with a Sea Shanty Workshop for all in The Boat Museum on Sunday, and gigs in local pubs and bars during the week. Lost Coyotes will play in Pebbles on Sunday evening, the talented Lukas Drinkwater in The London Inn on Monday evening and David Milton will be singing outside Contains Art on Wednesday evening (at the opening of the Summertime Art Exhibition).

Tom Moore and Archie Churchill Moss sing on Wednesday evening, The Open Mic Sessions, with lots of local musicians are in The Marquee behind the Star on Thursday evening, Martyn Babb, Tony Piper and crew will be ‘Hauling on the Halliards’ with their sea shanties on Friday evening at The Boat Museum, and there will also be a Family Ceilidh with Gadarene in Knight’s Templar School on Friday 17th in the evening.

The week comes to a musical close with Andy Barratt and friends, Jessie and The Skunknecks and Turnette Doone and the explosive and celebrated Summertime Firework Display by Fire Magic on Saturday 18th . Most of the music events are free for the audience except for the Opening Concert and the Family Ceilidh.

Walks
This year there are three walks, suitable for families who want to know more about the area. On Monday afternoon The West Somerset Mineral Line Association will start from The Market House Museum. David Milton will be your guide on his inimitable Watchet History Walk on Thursday early evening, and Paul Upton will talk you through Watchet’s Architectural Walk around the town with the option of extending your walk up to St Decuman’s Church and Well on Saturday morning.

Workshops
The Lottery Grant has enabled Watchet Summertime to hold several workshops during the week, all of which are free for participants; starting with the aforementioned Shanty Workshop with Pete Truin on Sunday 12 August. Two Rivers Paper Company will be on The Esplanade on Tuesday and showing all ages how to make paper. Watchet Market House Museum are running a workshop with the subject ‘Watchet and The Civil War’ in the Methodist School Room on Wednesday morning (15th).

There are also  two workshops geared up to 12 + young adults this year. Alice Maddicott is running a Poetry Workshop in the Library ‘Mythical Creatures and Alternative Realms’ on Wednesday 15th in the afternoon, and on Saturday morning 18th Cat Mills will run a Jewellery Workshop on The Esplanade (it will be free for participants to work with copper but there will be a small charge for items made of silver). On Friday afternoon, 17 August, Jan Martin will run a Book Binding Workshop outside Contains Art, which will be suitable for older children or adults.

Here are the listings issued by the organisers.

Monday 13th August
Watchet Summertime is running ‘A Day for Change’ on the Esplanade between 10am and 4pm. This will be a mixture of workshops and demos, information stalls and activities for all ages on the theme of positive changes we can all make in our lives. Come and find out more and get involved!

Tuesday 14th August
Tuesday is Family Craft Day, with workshops and demos all day, for all the family to have a go! Find your inner craftsperson, and make this the year you try something new. In the evening Watchet Summertime Art Exhibition will be launched (6pm onwards). Come and mingle with local artists and listen to David Milton sing.

Wednesday 15th August
As well as the workshops, Alexandra Simson (Story Well) will be doing two session of Storytelling, ‘Summer Magic with Story Well’ at 11am and 12 noon, in The Library. Her earlier session will be for younger children (up to 6 or 7) and the second session for children slightly older.

Thursday 16th August
Watchet Summertime’s Open Mic will be on The Esplanade from 10 am until late afternoon (then moving to the marquee behind The Star) with a host of local musicians. There will be Charity Stalls on The Esplanade all day, come and find out about local charities and spend to help them. In the evening Watchet Community Cinema are putting on an open air film, Grease on The Esplanade. Bring a chair and suitable clothing (though we hope for a lovely evening!). Maybe break out your fifties clothing and join in with the fun.

Friday 17th August
A day for children of all ages! In the morning Lyn Routledge will be demonstrating her Trapeze skills and encouraging the brave to join in. Watchet Town Council Fun Day starts at 12 noon and there will be Punch and Judy and Pirates, Storytelling and Puppets, Balloons and magic, Popcorn and candy floss, a ball pool and Sumo suits! Watchet’s Super Ducks will be competing in A Duck Race, in the afternoon. Which one will be the winner!

Saturday 18th August
Watchet’s celebrated Fireworks go off with a bang at 10pm, but before then there will be music of all types galore from 2pm and a Hog Roast from 6pm.

PLUS!

Monday 27th August Bank Holiday Monday
This year we will be holding our beautiful Candle Float on August Bank Holiday Monday (when tides are more suitable) but we will be selling the candles during Summertime week. Don’t miss out.

Please see the attached poster and listing for our full programme, or check out our FB page for Watchet Summertime or the webpage

www.watchetsummertime.btck.co.uk/

RSPB SAY ‘GIVE GULLS LOVE, NOT CHIPS’

News release issued by the RSPB

Gulls consistently get a bad press, but the RSPB is calling on people this summer to take a more understanding view of this most misunderstood of creatures. The RSPB and the RSPCA is offering practical advice to address the problems that sometimes occur between urban gulls and people.

Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West, said: “Personally I love gulls – I like a bird with a bit of personality and gulls have that in spades. They’re bombastic, cheeky, incredibly adaptable, opportunistic, intelligent, and if there was a prize for ‘bird parent of the year’, protective urban gull parents would win. However, our urban gull is often misunderstood. We need to change the way we behave around gulls and try to live harmoniously alongside them.”

The RSPB and RSPCA both cite examples of where relations have broken down. Last summer the RSPCA appealed for information after a gull was discovered on an industrial estate in St Austell with a crossbow bolt through its body. The injuries were too severe for the gull to make a recovery and it was put to sleep to prevent further suffering. This sort of attack is not an isolated incident.

Llewelyn Lowen, RSPCA Scientific Officer, explains: “Every year we receive calls about gulls which have been persecuted and the victims of abusive attacks. Many have stones thrown at them, others are left homeless after their nests are illegally destroyed and they may become the target of people taking pot shots at them with airguns.

“Gulls and their nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is illegal to intentionally kill, take or injure wild birds and action can only be taken against them under licence.”

The RSPB says one of the main issues people have with gulls is linked to the birds’ nesting behaviour. Morwenna continues: “May to July is prime gull-nesting season and during this period they can be quite noisy, which is an understandable annoyance if they’ve chosen a roof near you. But keep in mind that this period is short-lived.

“Gulls are also incredibly protective and proactive parents; they have to be as their chicks are quite worrisome. Before they fledge, gull chicks start to explore their rooftop homes, which can lead to them falling from the roof and sometimes even injuring themselves. When a chick is away from the nest, gull mum and dad will swing into action, protecting their vulnerable offspring from all possible harm – and that includes us.

“If a gull feels that you’re too close to its youngster, and so a potential threat, it will fly over you at great speed and alarmingly close – rarely making contact the first time. This is a warning – it’s meant to frighten you into backing off. If you encounter an anxious gull parent protecting their young, perhaps in your garden or place of work, the best advice is to walk carrying an unfurled umbrella. Again, this is just a temporary measure until the chick has fledged.”

The RSPB say that second main area of concern for people is the way some of the birds feed, but warn much of the problem is of human origin. Morwenna continues: “For years many people have openly fed gulls from their own hands – fish and chips on the beach were often shared with the gull eagerly pacing at people’s feet. Many people still leave bin bags of ripe-smelling food waste on the pavement (not in a bin or gull proof sack), again an easy snack for a gull. And, with the discarded curry containers, soggy burger buns and half eaten kebabs scattering the street outside many local takeaways – it’s little wonder that gulls see us as their free meal ticket. A gull can’t discern between a sausage roll dropped on the floor (free-pickings) and the one you’re unwrapping for lunch in the local park, humans have inadvertently taught gulls that our food is their food. We must all stop feeding gulls both in inland and seaside towns and in our gardens if we want to recondition their current behaviour.”

RSPCA’s Llewelyn Lowen said: “Unfortunately many see these birds as pests, but all it takes is a little care and understanding to minimise any inconvenience caused by gulls. The RSPCA believes that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are the best way to reduce gull-related problems. Not feeding the gulls, disposing of rubbish properly, and limiting gulls’ nesting opportunities in urban environments will help to reduce any problems.”

PHOTO: Editor’s own.