Net Missions: Gwithian Beach, Cornwall


Photograph of the waterhaul team holding a green ghost fishing net on the cliff top of gwithina beach in Cornwall, with godrevy lighthouse in the background.


On a bright and breezy Friday afternoon in January, the Waterhaul team were notified about a ghost fishing net that had been spotted on Gwithian Beach in west Cornwall.

Wary of the incoming tides (and eager to finish at the office early on a Friday), the team dropped everything and raced down the coast from our base in Newquay, before the net could be swept out to sea. 

A photo of a ghost fishing net on Gwithian beach in Cornwall, with a rocky cliff in the background.
A photo of the waterhaul team dragging a green ghost fishing net across gwithian beach in Cornwall, with Godrevy lighthouse in the background.

After locating the reported net at the base of the cliffs below the car park, it was time to start dragging it back across the beach. Soaking wet and covered in sand, this net took 5 of us to drag across the beach, with the incoming tide causing some wet feet in the process!

Thankfully the newest member of the team, Reef, was on hand to lift our spirits and assist in tugging the net. 

A photograph of a border collie puppy, called Reef

Upon reaching the base of the crumbling cliff path, we put our Beach Cleaner's Knives to use, by portioning the nets into more manageable chunks to be dragged back up to the car park. 

By this point the tide had crept up with us, and we had to finish cutting the last strands of net in ankle-deep seawater. Had we been even 10 minutes later, the net would have been completely cut off by the tide and we would have been unable to retrieve it without our swimming gear, which had been forgotten in our haste to get to the beach in time.

A photo of a person wering a black waterhaul jumper pulling a green fishing net up a cliff in Cornwall
A photo of two people dragging a fishing net up a cliff on Gwithian beach Cornwall, with the ocean and Godrevy lighthouse in the background.

After successfully scrambling up the cliffs with our haul, we collapsed on the clifftop to take in the views of the surf, kicking ourselves for leaving our wetsuits and boards behind. Sandy, wet and exhausted from the afternoon's efforts, we instead treated ourselves to hot chocolates, and watched the seals playing amongst the surfers, and even a pod of dolphins further out in the bay!

Anyone who has visited this stretch of coastline will know just how much of a wildlife hotspot it is, with regular sightings of seals, dolphins and even whales in the bay, proving how vital our work is in removing these potentially lethal ghost nets from our coastlines is.

A photo of three people dragging a white dumpy bag across sand dunes in Cornwall.

The net recovered form this trip will be washed and processed into our raw material; ready to be turned into our eyewear frames and equipment, while the team gear up for their next adventure!


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