Sussex Wildlife Trust is one of the organisations to routinely survey the beaches along the coast of Sussex. Involving volunteers, it makes for a great afternoon of legitimately staring into rockpools.
Looking with a guide and with a clipboard to record things meant that I also saw far more than I would have done alone. The notion of looking, and really looking, as you are taught with drawing exercises, reveals another layer of experience and discovery. It becomes a kind of meditation, a more focused study of surfaces and crevices, where all may not be as it seems on first glance, and any periphery awareness is temporarily suspended.
Fearing I had not moved this blog on, or this project, in my last post, I am reevaluating as I write now. This is an immersion of another kind. It’s another experience, demanding different skills and renewed attention. It is certainly all research, deepening knowledge, understanding and experience of a particular place. Another liminal space, accessible only during certain times in the day as the tide is followed and carefully judged. Weather, daylight and access are all factors in spending time there and means of recording is not always straight forward.
From routine surveys, data collected can track changes in biodiversity, flagging up indicators of water quality and climate change.
To bring the sea inland, a new exhibition of images from this Shoresearch Survey have been installed at Bexhill Station (with thanks to Sussex Wildlife Trust and in partnership with Sussex Community Rail Partnership). This coincides with the consultation period to increase the number of Marine Conservation Zones – of which Beachy Head East, Hastings to Beachy Head, is one. This will offer a greater level of protection to these fragile sites. The consultation for this is soon to close (20th July) and I urge anyone who hasn’t yet done so, to look at the recommended Marine Conservation Zones, of which there are 41 around the country, and the incredible life that’s out there beneath the waves. More information can be found here where you can also add your wave of support.
With thanks to Sam Roberts and Sussex Wildlife Trust for permissions to use their photographs.