Written by

Kate Williams

September 5, 2023



Proudly supporting the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch 2023

Over the past few years, our flagship brand holidaycottages.co.uk has partnered with the Marine Conservation Society to support its vital work to survey, campaign for, and protect our coastline and seas.

The Marine Conservation Society runs year-round beach cleans through its Beachwatch programme and inland Source to Sea litter picks, to help remove and record litter which makes its way into our seas.  Each year, members of the public that live near a beach or a river get involved in this nationwide survey, and holidaycottages.co.uk was among the first in line to take part.

At Travel Chapter, we regularly discuss ways to align our work to make a positive impact. During our partnership with the Marine Conservation Society 2023, our team across the UK found several ways to combine efforts and join the charity in its mission to preserve and protect our coasts.


A red plastic cup amongst sand dunes

Beachwatch is the longest-running beach clean and marine litter survey programme in the UK. In 2022, over 1,000 surveys were submitted and analysed, to get a picture of the state of our beaches. This data was then shared with industry and government stakeholders, raising awareness of the growing challenge of plastic pollution with an aim to influence long-term positive behaviour change.

The Marine Conservation Society found that overall litter levels are decreasing in the UK, plastic is still the biggest problem to overcome, and these surveys have highlighted the importance of Deposit Return Schemes for drinks-related litter.

Read more about these results and download the report on their Beachwatch 2022 page.

Source to Sea Litter Quest

Bags of rubbish collected from Westward Ho! beach on a beach clean

80% of the litter that ends up in the sea or on our beaches comes from inland sources, where it makes its way into rivers and waterways, causing problems for our marine ecosystems. By recording inland litter, the Source to Sea Little Quest helps to track pollution back to its source and provides important data to help campaign for change, and everyone in the UK can contribute..

To volunteer your time or learn about the Source to Sea mission, you can find out more on the website.

Marine Conservation Society all-company talk

We work in close partnership with the Marine Conservation Society and have done since 2020. A valued component of our partnership is the all-company talks that are organised so that the charity can educate us on crucial areas of its work.

The Marine Conservation Society was invited to hold a talk on its Beachwatch initiative, where it provided us with vital information about how we can protect our coastlines, including an introduction to Beachwatch and the importance of beach cleans.

Westward Ho! Beach Clean

Travel Chapter staff at a beach clean on Westward Ho! beach

Both of our beach cleans took place in two of the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along a 100-metre stretch of the beautiful Westward Ho! Beach in North Devon, our team collected six bags of waste containing a total of 648 items. And, after the results had been reviewed, we found that an astounding 88% of the material collected was plastic. To put that into perspective, the second-most common material we found on the beach was metal, which only took up 4% of the total.

A pie chart of the materials collected at a beach clean
A pie chart of the sources of materials collected at a beach clean

Around a third of the items collected were identified as public litter, a third came from fishing, and the final third was a combination of non-sourced/unknown and miscellaneous.

Sheringham Beach Clean

Travel Chapter staff at a beach clean on Sheringham Beach

Our second beach clean took place on Sheringham Beach, a beautiful and popular holiday destination on the North Norfolk coast. Even though it was a smaller team, they had similar findings when it came to the type of litter being discovered, with 70% of the items collected being plastic.

In terms of litter sources, the results varied from our North Devon team, with 75% of the items collected being identified as public litter, and the remaining 25% being a combination of fishing items and non-sourced/unknown objects. Even though our teams only sampled two beaches, it has been interesting to find that the majority of litter collected has come from public spaces and/or the fishing industry.

Find out more

Read all about our ongoing partnership with the Marine Conservation Society.

To find out how you can get involved in Beachwatch and Source to Sea in your local area, visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website.