Spring Makeover at Weymouth Beach

Fresh clean sand newly distributed over Weymouth Beach

Playing with sand on an industrial scale at Weymouth Beach in Dorset this week, earth moving machinery has been restoring the shore to pristine condition by redistributing imported sand – ensuring plenty for sun-bathing and sand castle-making before the better weather and the influx of visitors arrive in this new season.

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Piles of imported sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

Mechanical digger moving fresh sand on Weymouth Beach

The Rise and Fall of Whiteford Sands

View looking towards the lighthouse at Whiteford on the Gower Peninsula showing rock strewn beach with patches of sand

The photographs in this post illustrate the way that vast quantities of wind- and wave-borne sand at Whiteford Sands on the Gower Peninsula move around the shore over time. I have taken one fixed object, a piece of ancient timber with an unmistakable shape that projects from the early to post Holocene deposits of peat and clay, and taken shots of it on every visit to the beach over the past ten years or so. The following images show how the sand level changes periodically to reveal or conceal the underlying layers with the surface scattering of rocks that were dumped by the melting ice during the last glacial event. Beaches like Whiteford are incredibly dynamic. Click on any image in the gallery below to view as a slideshow in chronological order.

 

Beachcombing at Ventry

Seashells, seaweed, and mermaids purse washed up on a sandy beach

Notice board at Ventry BayThe wide sandy beach at Ventry lies on the south coast of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland and is home to a small harbour where boats leave for tours of the Blasket Islands, and it also marks the route of an ancient pilgrims’ way. According to the sign posted in the car park, the Saints’ Road (Cosán na Naomh) starts here in Ventry (Tráigh Fionnetrá) and finishes in Baile Breac at the foot of Mount Brandon over 18 km away. It is today waymarked by the symbol of a monk, and is thought to have been in existence for over a thousand years.

Waymarking for The Saints' RoadThe notice says that “In Old Irish literature, this beach was the scene of a somewhat mythical encounter known as Cath Fionntrá (the battle of Ventry) in which the great hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill overcame the Emperor of all the World except Ireland, Daire Donn”. Now all is calm on the beach with the only sign of struggle being that of the sea against the land. The sand is strewn with pebbles, shells, and sea weed; while the dunes are protected from erosion as in so many other places these days by the placement of large boulders (a structure known as rip-rap).

Sea Lettuce seaweed washed up on the sand

Dendritic drainage patterns on a sandy beach

Black scallop shell with gutweed on wet sand

Seaweed washed up on the sand

Assorted seashells and mermaid's purses wahed ashore on a sandy beach

Oyster Thief seaweed washed up on sand

Small jellyfish washed up on the sand

Razor and top shells with sea noodle seaweed on sand

Worm cast on a sandy beach

Dendritic drainage patterns in the sand with red pebbles

Sinuous drainage patterns in the sand on the beach

Otter shell and eel grass washed up on a sandy beach

Broken whelk shell on wet patterned sand

Seaweed and seashells on a sandy beach