Somerset Wildlife Trust is joining the celebration of marine life that will be taking place across the UK from Saturday 29 July to Sunday 13 August, as part of National Marine Week, to inspire everyone to show a little love for the county’s little-known, unique marine wildlife and habitats.

Somerset has nearly 50 miles of coastline which includes a variety of habitats such as sand dunes, rocky shores, tidal estuaries and the longest continual stretch of coastal deciduous woodland in England – all home to a wealth of captivating species, world class geology and fascinating history and heritage.

National Marine Week is the perfect opportunity for families to get out exploring some of Somerset’s natural coastal wonders. Try the rocky shore around Brean Down where you can find Beadlet Anemones, Green Shore Crabs, Common Periwinkles and Limpets, and at Minehead beach at low tide you may see starfish like the Common Sunstar and Common Brittlestar!

In August look out for the small wading birds, Sanderling and Dunlin, as they start to arrive on our beaches having made their journey from the Arctic in search of warmer climes.

National Marine Week is not only a chance to get out and about and appreciate the beautiful species that can be found locally, but to raise awareness of the wildlife that is under threat and what can be done to protect it for the future.

Michele Bowe, Director of Conservation, Policy and Strategy from Somerset Wildlife Trust, explains why we should spare a thought for our coast when enjoying it this summer: “Climate change and rising sea levels, harnessing the Severn Estuary’s natural power for energy generation, alongside general coastal development, are just a few reasons why Somerset’s coastline is under serious pressure, and this is why we are in the second year of a comprehensive three year coastal survey to increase the scientific evidence base of Somerset’s coastal wildlife. This work is crucial, as in order to deliver conservation programmes that protect our county’s marine wildlife for the future, we need to discover and understand in more detail what is there.”

What can you do to help Somerset’s Coast?
Somerset’s coast is rich in wildlife, from the seriously cute Ringed Plover chicks, to the debatably cuddly Sea Slug, and the bouncy Bouy Barnacles in Minehead to the very delicate Moon Jellyfish at Steart Marshes. There is so much to discover, love and protect along our coast.  Why not get involved this National Marine Week? Perhaps you can do a volunteer survey, or support the Wildlife Trust’s coastal appeal that is funding their survey work? You can also join in one of our many events that are happening over August. From a Beach Clean to looking for Porpoise, to scoring the coastline to see what you can find on our ‘Rockpool Ramble’ or a ‘Seashore Safari’ there is something for all the family to enjoy. For more details on these events and more, please go to www.somersetwildlife.org/events .

Don’t forget to tweet @SomersetWT, with what you find.

PHOTO by Matthew Roberts

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