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If you are a business or organisation that would like to support these events in some way, please get in touch with the Exe Estuary Officer at exeestua@devon.gov.uk or 01392 382236.

Spring Clean-Up: Saturday 18th May 2019 - Dawlish Warren

In response to requests from local communities to hold litter picks at different areas around the estuary, the next Clean-Up will take place at a new site: Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve on 18th May at 10am to 1pm!

Due to sensitivities of the area we are cleaning, places are limited to just 30 volunteers. Unfortunately (due to on-site insurance and byelaws), children and dogs aren't able to join this event - but they will be welcome at our next event in autumn.

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL: So please book your place online at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exe-spring-clean-up-2019-tickets-60049901873
If you are no longer able to go, please make sure you cancel your tickets, so others can book a place.

Further details will be sent to volunteers who have booked, closer to the date.


Autumn Clean-Up: 8th September 2018

Over 130 volunteers gathered at Exmouth Local Nature Reserve on 8th September, to give the estuary a good clean after the busy summer season. Staff from the local McDonald’s were on-hand before the Clean-Up to provide volunteers with free refreshments before they headed out.

Joining the enthusiastic team, were a number of respected local representatives: The Rt Hon Sir Hugo Swire MP (and well-behaved dog!), the Exe Estuary Partnership Chair and Mayor of Exmouth Cllr Jeff Trail BEM, and Deputy Mayor Bruce De Saram.

A big thank you is extended to the RSPB for supporting this event with a tractor to transport large items back to shore, whilst Street Scene helped with equipment and removal of the rubbish collected.

Each Clean-Up event continues to help reduce the amount of rubbish found in this area, which has significantly decreased over the years of volunteer action.

Despite the reduction in volume of rubbish found, these events are still important in the effort to remove waste that is hazardous to the wildlife and humans that use this area. On this occasion, the problem of “Ghost Fishing” was reduced – this is when nets, fishing lines or fish traps are discarded into the environment and left to continue to catch marine life, which end up dying unnecessarily. The volunteers were able to remove discarded fishing nets and tackle from the estuary, as well as a number of discarded and broken crab pots.

Amongst the more unusual finds was a tooth! A large molar from an unidentified animal. A great find from a little girl on this expansive estuary!

Following the Clean-Up, volunteers were welcomed on-board “The Pride of Exmouth”, with Stuart Line Cruises very generously offering a free boat trip for volunteers. On-board, the volunteers tucked in to a hot lunch courtesy of Krispies award-winning fish and chips! As everyone enjoyed the passing estuary sights with full tummies, ACE Music provided the entertainment with fun and lively jazz music.

Unfortunately, a little mishap was encountered at this event, when the tractor got stuck in a section of deep mud. The Exe Estuary is an ever-changing environment and sometimes even the best laid plans end up with the occasional accident. Contingency plans were in place and the tractor was later recovered. Fortunately, the sealed system of the tractor held and there was no pollution incident on the estuary. As a result of this incident, the partnership is undertaking a review to ensure appropriate learning for future Clean-Up events.

If you would like to find out how to get involved with future Clean-Up events, please contact the Exe Estuary Management Partnership:

Email: exeestua@devon.gov.uk

Tel: 01392 382236




Spring Clean-Up: 12th May 2018

Local businesses teamed up with almost 150 volunteers in May to clean-up the Exe Estuary, making it safer for visitors and recreational users of this popular beauty spot.

The Exe Estuary Management Partnership has coordinated 21 clean-up events over the years, with a notable decrease in general rubbish being found at the protected Local Nature Reserve in Exmouth.

However, the volunteers were able to remove numerous hazardous items from the foreshore, which would have presented a significant danger to recreational users or families who visit the Reserve.

Hazardous items found included a razorblade, sheets of sharp-edged metal, a large rusty railing and a large knife. The estuary is unquestionably a safer place to visit following the good work of the volunteers.

Other unusual items found included street cones, an ornate clay smoking pipe, a very corroded old bike and an unexplainable amount of soles from shoes.

These clean-ups can only take place with the support from local businesses, who loyally sponsor the event year after year. To the delight of the volunteers, Stuart Line Cruises were able to offer a free cruise of the estuary, whilst Krispies Fish & Chips filled hungry tummies with a free delicious lunch! McDonald’s provided free refreshments before the clean-up and ACE Music filled the salty air with jazz tunes on board the cruise. The RSPB were able to help remove the large items from the Reserve with their tractor, and East Devon District Council provided free parking for volunteers, equipment and removal of the rubbish collected.

With recent coverage of the issues of litter in the marine environment, we thank all of our volunteers for working hard to ensure the Exe Estuary is cleaner and healthier for the protected wildlife that live here. As a popular spot for visitors, it’s great to know that hazardous items have been removed, so that people can safely enjoy this beautiful area.




Autumn Clean-Up: 16th September 2017

Almost 150 volunteers mucked in to clean the Exe Estuary in the autumn - and the good news is that the amount of discarded rubbish blighting the beauty spot is on the decrease.

The usual assortment of rubbish including broken glass and car tyres were found during the 20th Clean-Up of the internationally important Exmouth Local Nature Reserve. However this time volunteers only found enough rubbish to fill just over half a skip, less than previous Clean-Ups.

Amongst the more interesting finds were a pair of clay smoking pipes, which are likely to date back to the 18th or 19th Century. Volunteers also managed to find a steering wheel from a boat and a lost lead that belonged to a local guide dog - now reunited! With the help of the RSPB tractor, we were able to remove a couple of heavy concrete slabs that had been known to damage boat propellers.

McDonald’s provided free refreshments before the Clean-Up, and Krispies very generously offered free delicious (and award-winning!) fish & chips again, which were eaten by the hungry volunteers alongside a free hot drink provided by the Railway Club. A fantastic cruise of the estuary was prepared by Stuart Line Cruises, with on-board entertainment by ACE Music.

The RSPB were a huge support for this event, providing a tractor and driver to transport the large and heavy items of rubbish back to shore. East Devon District Council kindly provided the skip and free parking for all volunteers, whilst Street Scene provided equipment.

The new Exe Estuary Management Partnership Chair, Councillor Jeff Trail BEM also helped at the Clean-Up. Cllr Trail said: “What a fantastic turnout by over a hundred helpers who came from far and wide to help look after the internationally important estuary, and what a difference this makes for people and wildlife that use the Exe. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Steph for organising the event and our sponsors for the day who included McDonald’s, Krispies, Stuart Line Cruises, the Railway Club, ACE Music and RSPB, whom without their time, support and assistance the day would not have been as successful as it was. Well done to you all and we hope to see you all again at future events.”

The Clean-Up was coordinated by Exe Estuary Officer Stephanie Clark, who said: “We are finding that every year there is a little less rubbish to clean up and that’s really good news. It indicates that there is an increasing awareness of the impact litter has on the environment and wildlife. These bi-annual Clean-Ups are essential for maintaining the health and vitality of the estuary, helping to keep the Local Nature Reserve safe for recreational users and our special wildlife.”

The Exe Estuary Partnership worked with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to survey the litter found on the Exe, as part of the UK-wide Great British Beach Clean. The partnership helps to identify local litter issues, which enables the MCS to tackle litter at its source.

According to the MCS the main sources of litter within the UK are the public (36%), fishing (9%), sewage related debris (7%), and shipping (3%). Recyclable plastic makes up over 60 per cent of everything found on beach cleans. This year, plastics collected at the Exe were recycled.

For details of future Clean-Ups, please contact the Exe Estuary Officer:

E: exeestua@devon.gov.uk       T: 01392 382236




Spring Clean-Up: 13th May 2017

The Spring Clean-Up of 2017 took place at 2pm on Saturday 13th May at the Imperial Recreation Ground slipway in Exmouth.

The sun was shining as over 100 volunteers gathered in force to tackle an issue that endangers the safety of human visitors and wildlife on this internationally important site – litter.

Large and sharp items were removed from the estuary, which could be hazardous to the many recreational users that use this area. Other items included a mass of netting, which wildlife can get caught up in and drown or starve.

Amongst the more humorous items found were a set of dentures!

Whether harmful or amusing, the litter that was collected filled a skip, leaving the Local Nature Reserve spotless and ready for the summer visitors.

A number of local businesses selflessly offered up their Saturdays to help at the event, starting with refreshments from the local McDonald’s, prior to the clean.

David Shawyer, McDonald’s franchisee said “As a local businessman, with customers and employees in Exmouth, I was delighted to have the opportunity to support this really worthwhile event, both through providing refreshments for all those involved and by getting hands-on, alongside our own ten volunteers. I was pleased with the amount of rubbish collected and the real community spirit evident on the day.”

After a couple of hours of hard work, volunteers made their way over to The GWRSA Railway Club, to have a well-deserved cuppa kindly provided by the club. Volunteers then tucked in to a hot fish supper generously supplied free of charge by Tim and Kelly Barnes, owners of Krispies Fish & Chips in Exmouth. Krispies are passionate about sourcing sustainable fish, which are taken from fish populations which are at healthy levels whilst protecting the marine environment. They have also just won a national award for their chips – they are officially the best in Britain!

Kelly Barnes, owner of Krispies Fish & Chips said: “I have never done the beach clean before and it was a fabulous community event as well as being a really good day out for the family. We will be sponsoring September’s beach clean but if we weren’t I would go along anyway!”

With a belly full of food and drink, volunteers were then welcomed aboard a fantastic free cruise of the beautiful (and newly-cleaned) estuary, courtesy of the family-run Stuart Line Cruises.

The amount of volunteers that turn up at these events is astounding. For so many people around the estuary to give up their Saturday to take care of this special place is tremendous and shows real community spirit.

This is the 19th clean-up event of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, and there has been a notable reduction in the amount of rubbish on the Local Nature Reserve, due to the hard work of volunteers, as well as the changing attitudes of people towards littering. This reduction in litter improves the health of the natural environment, removing hazards for both wildlife and people who use the estuary.

The support of local businesses, such as Stuart Line Cruises, Krispies Fish & Chips, The Railway Club and McDonalds, has proved incredibly important at all of the events we have run and demonstrates their commitment to the estuary. 

We are also grateful to local organisations such as East Devon District Council and the National Trust, whose help with this event made a huge difference to the amount of litter that we could clear.



Autumn Clean-Up: 17th September 2016

Over 110 volunteers turned up at the Imperial Recreation Ground to clean the Exmouth Local Nature Reserve after the busy summer period, for the 18th community clean-up that the Exe Estuary Partnership has organised.

Volunteers managed to fill another skip with rubbish that was removed from the Exe, leaving the estuary cleaner and safer for humans that use this site for numerous recreational activities, and also for wildlife, including the thousands of migrating and wintering birds that are already arriving to feed and rest.

There were a number of odd finds from the group, including a divers mask and a wellington boot. One or two volunteers collected rubbish from the grassy area of the Recreation Ground, finding 12 pieces of litter from KFC alone, which would have otherwise blown onto the estuary and out to sea.

The group also took part in the UK-wide Great British Beach Clean survey, which allows the Marine Conservation Society to examine whether there are specific litter issues at the site and tackle litter at its source. The overwhelming majority of the litter found in this area was glass, although some finds were particularly intriguing and gave a snapshot into the lives of the people who used to live at Exmouth many years ago. Old medicine bottles were discovered, children gathered a treasure trove of unusual finds and one volunteer even found what looked like a glass marble amongst the rubbish. It is believed to have been one that was used in old carbonated drinks bottles.

A big thank you once again to the businesses & organisations that support this clean-up:

  • Stuart Line Cruises for offering a free cruise to volunteers once more, we even got to see a grey seal basking in the afternoon sun!
  • EDDC for free parking, paying for the skip and help on the day from the Countryside Team.
  • McDonald’s for offering free water and delicious snacks and boosting our energy before the clean.
  • National Trust for arranging the tractor.
  • The World of Countrylife for having a second tractor on standby… just in case!
Thank you to all volunteers for their hard work on the day and to those that completed surveys. A summary of the survey data can be found on the MCS national litter database at http://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/beach/exmouth-local-nature-reserve-exe-estuary/survey100m/2016-09-17/summary


Autumn Clean-Up and Knees-Up 2016

The skies were kind to us as the volunteers stepped onto the estuary for our Autumn Clean-Up on Sunday 20th September. Nearly 90 people turned up at the Imperial Recreation Ground in Exmouth to tidy the Exe after the busy summer period, keeping it clean and safe for people and wildlife alike.

Large amounts of litter included the usual suspects, such as glass, ceramic and bits of scrap metal and rope. There were a large number of plastic bottles, drink cans and plastic bags collected, indicating that more should be done to tackle littering from days out on the estuary. Some of the more unusual items found included a water tap, a garden fork, a windscreen wiper, a couple of abandoned chairs and a surprising 41 shoes and 9 shoe soles!

The Clean-Up event was held in co-ordination with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Great British Beach Clean, with the high number of volunteers meaning that we were able to take part in the UK-wide beach litter count to help tackle litter at the source. Our survey indicated that a high number of plastic pieces were cleared from the Exe, with the MCS UK survey showing that plastics make up the majority of debris found on beaches, both in the UK and many other countries around the world. According to the MCS, a recent study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated that there were 46,000 pieces of plastic litter per square mile.

Our 'throw-away' consumer culture means that a growing number of unwanted plastic items are discarded into our seas and onto our beaches every year, posing a threat to both ourselves and wildlife. The durable nature of plastics mean that they are the most pervasive, persistent and hazardous form of litter in the marine environment. Animals can mistake plastic for food. For example, to a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. Seabirds can also mistake plastic pellets for fish eggs.

Plastic can take hundreds of years to break down, and even then pose a risk in our seas. Tiny bits of plastic rubbish, or microplastics, are consumed by small marine animals, such as lugworms. Further up the food chain, microplastics accumulate, presenting potentially harmful consequences for human health.

As a thank you, a ‘Post-Clean-Up-Knees-Up’ was arranged for volunteers to enjoy free food and entertainment courtesy of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and Exmouth Rugby Club. The Rob Murphy Trio played live music whilst volunteers enjoyed the food, with the Rugby World Cup playing on screens in the Main Bar of the Rugby Club.

Deep gratitude is extended to the local businesses and organisations that continue to support our Clean-Up events. A big thank you to the World of Country Life and the National Trust for very kindly supplying tractors to clear the piles of rubbish from the estuary. Our volunteers would agree that this would be an impossible task without the help of the tractors! We would also like to thank East Devon District Council for their great support that they provide, and a great team from McDonalds was even on-site throughout the day to help with the litter-pick and supplied beverages and donuts during the day!

Thank you to all volunteers that help with these Clean-Ups. Over the years, they have helped to rid the estuary of tons of rubbish, removing hazards for both people and wildlife and preserving the beauty of the Local Nature Reserve.


Good Clean Fun in the Sun - Spring Clean 2015

Over 80 volunteers turned up at Exmouth Local Nature Reserve on Saturday to clean the internationally designated site from rubbish. The sun shone throughout the clean-up as volunteers of all ages worked hard to get the site spotless.

This is the 14th clean-up event that the Exe Estuary Management Partnership has run. The amount of rubbish found has noticeably reduced over the years, which indicates that the hard work the local community has put in is making a significant difference to the health of our environment.

Although there is less rubbish to collect each year, volunteers still managed to half fill a skip at the clean-up event. Items found included the usual tyres, glass and plastics with more unusual items including a car seat, vacuum cleaner and toilet seat! A large sheet of jagged glass was also removed, which posed a significant hidden risk to recreational users in the area.

Volunteers also contributed to the national clean-up campaign and litter survey organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), and carefully recorded all the kinds of litter that they found.  The information will be used to highlight the impacts of marine litter, promote measures to reduce marine litter at source, and campaign for legislation.

Following the clean-up, volunteers were invited aboard a free cruise of the newly cleaned estuary, courtesy of Stuart Line Cruises. On board, cruisers could enjoy a free buffet whilst listening to ACE Music live band and even enjoying the odd rewarding tipple.

Clean up events on the estuary simply could not happen without the generous support of a whole host of local organisations. Particular thanks is due to East Devon District Council for huge help on the day, free parking, skip hire and helping to remove the large items from site. Many thanks to Stuart Line Cruises for another much enjoyed cruise of the Exe and thanks to the National Trust for their support of the event. We are also very grateful to ACE Music Jazz band for the on-board entertainment.

For our next event, we would like to invite other businesses or organisations to support this well attended and worthy event. If you would like to offer our volunteers something in return for their hard work, please get in touch with the Exe Estuary Officer, Stephanie Clark at exeestua@devon.gov.uk or 01392 382236. You can be as imaginative as you like with your support, for example, in the past we have had a mobile café offering hot drinks on cold days and we have had Deemac Photography taking professional photos on the day. Or perhaps you might be able to help fund the buffet for volunteers. We would love to hear from you!

Councillor Bernard Hughes OBE, Chairman of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership said, "A massive thank you to everyone who joined in, and to the organisations who supported this successful event which makes such a tangible difference to the very special Exe Estuary."

A big thank you from the Exe Estuary Partnership to all of the volunteers and supporters of our clean-up events. Your ongoing support helps to keep our wonderful landscape beautiful and safe for wildlife and visitors alike.


Clean up, Wash down!

The autumn clean up event of 2013 coincided with what the Met Office refers to as a ‘high rainfall event'.  In the 2 hours beforehand, the estuary sky was black and Exmouth was drenched by monsoon type rain.  This may have deterred many would-be volunteers, and who can blame them?  Numbers were down from the usual 100+ to just 38 waterproofed stalwarts. 

Wetcleanupman - credit EEMP

But the rain eased, the tractor roared into action and everyone strode forth, bags in hand.  It was clean up business as usual (though still a bit dark for photos, as you can see!)!

Two hours later, the tractor trailer was piled high with a magnificent haul of 2.22 tonnes of miscellaneous rubbish, most to be recycled.  A lot of the materials were old mooring gear, including 7 anchors, about 6 tyres and odd barrels of concrete, but there were other more domestic items – a buggy, pillow, pair of socks, swimming trunks, even a lady's tights. 

Building materials also featured – bricks, scaffold pole and copper piping.  Something for everyone, you might say!

As well as being unsightly, many of the things picked up could also be hazardous, especially for people participating in board water sports such as wind or kite surfing.  It was great to have Steph from Edge Water Sports joining in – pointing out particular hazards and getting stuck in with helping to clear an area around the main channel.

Sept 2013 skip

Back on shore, we had to face down a flat bed truck laden with old fridges and freezers, whose driver was coveting our skip, but all the rubbish was soon safely transferred from the trailer, and the volunteers on their way to enjoying a well-deserved buffet tea and an estuary cruise courtesy of Stuart Line Cruises.

The Partnership would like to thank Stuart Line Cruises, and also the National Trust (who provided the tractor and driver), East Devon District Council (for skip hire, free parking and supporting staff) and the Environment Agency (which sponsored the buffet).  Most of all, a huge thank you to the intrepid volunteers who gave up their Saturday afternoons to get cold and wet - and do a good deed!


Spring Clean up 2013 - cancelled

Owing to the work being undertaken to reduce pollution from the Imperial Recreation Ground site in Exmouth, the 6-monthly Big Community Spring Clean up of the nearby foreshore didn't take place. 


The Autumn 2012 Estuary Clean Up

On Saturday 15th September, more than 120 people in wellies (mostly) converged on the Imperial Road Slipway for what is becoming a significant twice-yearly event in Exmouth's social calendar.  It was the Big Autumn Clean Up, a day when local people – and some from further afield – spent 2 hours clearing all sorts of rubbish and strange things that shouldn't be there from the intertidal area of the estuary around the Recreation Ground.  

The weather was fanstastic and everyone enjoyed the fresh air and wildlife of the estuary whilst getting some healthy exercise.  With much-appreciated help from Dave and his tractor from Darts Farm, the volunteers cleared an amazing 1.54 tonnes of material, most of which will be recycled.  As well as plastic bottles, plastic bags and drinks cans there were also more surprising finds, such as sections of brick wall, electric cables, large carpets, old anchors, 6 tyres and even a kitchen sink.   Much of the material collected would have been hazardous if left – either to people or craft using the estuary, or to wildlife – so thanks to the many people who gave up part of their valuable weekend, the estuary is cleaner, more attractive and safer. 

After the clean up, volunteers took a relaxing cruise around the estuary, provided through the generosity of Stuart Line Cruises, with an online buffet paid for by the Environment Agency, and jazz serenade from Ace Jazz Band.

The clean up events are organised by the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, but we are very grateful for the kind support of several local businesses and organisations.  In addition to those named already, we would like to thank particularly East Devon District Council and Leese's Skip Hire.  

For news about our Clean Up events, email the Exe Estuary Officer to be added to our Exe Press newsletter mailing list.

Midge Kelly, Exe Estuary Officer
Tel: 01392 382236
Email: exeestua@devon.gov.uk


The Big Spring Clean of 2012

The Big Estuary Spring Clean on 19th May went like a dream, thanks to the 85 people and several dogs who gave up part of their valuable weekend (and resisted the draw of the County Show) to come and lend a hand.  This was the tenth Big Clean Up, and they are certainly becoming a local tradition.  Although the estuary is benefiting from the cumulative clean ups, we haven't run out of litter yet, and the volunteers removed a remarkable 2.5 tonnes, most of which was taken for recycling.  Amongst the items found were several anchors and lobster pots, fishing gear, lumps of concrete, tyres, general litter such as plastics and glass, and a few surprises – like the many items of clothing, microwave oven, camping stove and vacuum cleaner(?). 

After their magnificent efforts, the volunteers were treated to a relaxing cruise around the coast, courtesy of Stuart Line Cruises.  The Exe Estuary Partnership provided a light buffet, and the gentlemen of Ace Jazz Band played mellow mood music.  When the sun came out and the estuary sparkled, we all knew we'd done the job good!

The Big Estuary Clean Ups wouldn't happen without the support of a wide range of local organisations and businesses.  In addition to those mentioned already, the Partnership is on this occasion particularly grateful to East Devon District Council, the RSPB, the National Trust and the Environment Agency for help on the day; Hartwood Treeworks for providing and driving the tractor; and Leese's for a discount on the skip hire.


The Exe Estuary Autumn Clean Up Event 2011

The Exe Estuary Autumn Clean Up took place on Saturday 17th September 2011 to coincide with the MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend, and turned out to be another successful event. Despite the wet weather, volunteers demonstrated how much they care for this internationally important site by turning up in droves, resulting in 130 volunteers on the day! It turned out that luck was on our side with the rain clearing up just minutes before we headed out on the Exmouth Local Nature Reserve and the sun even shone through the clouds to see us through the two hours that we spent on the clean up.

The great work that volunteers carry out during these clean ups year after year is proving to have a very positive effect on the health of the estuary, with many local people and businesses noticing a reduction of rubbish on the Exe. Despite the low levels of litter, volunteers still managed to hunt down enough rubbish to fill a skip! The Local Nature Reserve is now spick and span in time for the wintering birds that shall be visiting our estuary soon, providing an important resting site during their long migratory journeys.

The more unusual items found on the estuary included a chair, walking stick, windscreen surround, suit jacket, shotgun cartridges, chimney pot… even a kitchen sink! It was great to see that many potentially dangerous items were cleared, including asbestos, a boat part that was leaking oil and countless pieces of glass. Volunteers were even able to separate recyclables from the rubbish collected. The large number of volunteers that turned up meant that we could carry out a survey of the litter, which will be used by the Marine Conservation Society to influence government, industry and the public in tackling marine litter at its source.

A big thank you goes to Paul Craven and his assistant from Exmouth Marina Ltd for the invaluable help from his tractor and trailer in bringing the heavy items of rubbish back to shore. Also thanks to Leese's Skip Hire who offered discounted skip hire for the event.

As a thank you, all volunteers were invited aboard a free cruise from Stuart Line Cruises with a free buffet courtesy of the Environment Agency.

The event was captured beautifully by Dave McHutchison at Deemac Photography, as seen within
this article. More photos can be viewed on his website
on the ‘Miscellaneous' page at www.deemacphotos.com.

The Exe Estuary Partnership are involved in a brand new litter campaign which aims to raise awareness about the impacts of marine and beach litter and promote practical action to keep the coasts of East Devon and Dorset litter free.                                                                      


The Big Spring Clean Up of 2011!

c.Deemac PhotographyThis spring's 8th Exe Estuary Clean Up event turned out to be the largest one yet! Over 130 volunteers turned up on the day...over double the amount of past clean ups! The sight of such a large group of volunteers spreading out over the Local Nature Reserve was astounding, as they enthusiastically collected litter from the estuary. In just two hours, we had completely filled a skip full of rubbish!

As a new addition to this clean up event, volunteers were also asked to fill out a survey of the litter collected for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). The data collected will highlight problems in the area so that they can be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities. This survey proved to be very successful, thanks to the high numbers of dedicated volunteers who took part. The total number of items collected on the day amounted to a staggering 3,410 items! These included 18 tyres, a high volume of glass pieces, 77 plastic bags, 142 drink cans, a TV, oven door, toilet lid, car door and steering wheel!

c.Deemac PhotographyLocal businesses very kindly gave up their Saturday's to offer their services for the event, free of charge! Bespoke Cafe was on site early in the morning to hand out free hot drinks to the volunteers to prepare them for the gusty estuary. Deemac Photography captured the event beautifully, some of his photos you can see within this article. Dave, with his tractor and trailer from Darts Farm worked incredibly hard throughout the day to help transport all the rubbish gathered back the skip on shore, which was kindly discounted for us by Leese's Skip Hire. After the hard day of cleaning, all volunteers were treated to a cruise down the Estuary from Stuart Line Cruises, where we sang along to the cheerful jazz tunes of ACE Music and enjoyed the buffet that we were able to offer as a small thank you to all who took part.

Local Councillors also turned up on the day, getting their hands dirty to help out for a good cause. Cllr Brenda Taylor stated:
"I thought it was the best supported effort so far, and great to see people involved in caring for our wonderful estuary and environment. Cllr Eileen Wragg also attended and we both enjoyed being out on the estuary, a refreshing change from all the meetings we attend and the recent elections!!"

c.Deemac PhotographyA massive thank you to all volunteers who contributed to the spring Clean Up, without the dedication that is shown at these events, the beautiful landscape would become tarnished with accumulated litter, the wildlife would suffer and the safety of the people who enjoy using the site for recreational activities would be risked. Users of the estuary have reported a reduction in litter in the area over the years, which is a good indicator that these clean ups are really contributing to the health of the estuary!

We can all continue to make a difference to the future of litter on the Estuary by opting for low packaging alternatives, reusing, recycling and when visiting the Estuary please remember to take your litter home with you or use bins where provided.


Exe Estuary Autumn 2010 Clean ups

Crab PotAs part of the Marine Conservation Society's National Beach Watch weekend in September 2010, clean up events took place at both the Exmouth Local Nature Reserve and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve. Both turned out to be very successful events, with volunteers working hard to remove unsightly litter from our Estuary, ensuring a safer environment for all users of the Exe.

Exmouth LNR

National Beach Watch was celebrated a week late at the Exmouth site in order to allow for a better low tide window.   The event took place on Saturday 25th September 2010 on the sandbanks of the Local Nature Reserve, to give the estuary a much needed clean up.  We were happy to welcome back some of our regular volunteers, as well as many new volunteers.

Dawlish Warren NNR

On Sunday 19th September 2010, volunteers joined Dawlish Warren Rangers in cleaning up the sand dunes and beaches of the Warren.


Spring 2010 Clean up a Huge Success

This spring's Exe Estuary Clean Up was a huge success with more than 70 volunteers taking to the sand banks of the Exmouth Local Nature Reserve to clear the litter which harms wildlife, damages habitats and poses a safety risk to those who enjoy using the estuary for activities such as kite surfing and dog walking.  

After 2 hours out on the estuary, working in small groups to clear as much litter as possible from as big an area as possible, the group returned to the shore to transfer the litter from the trailer to a waiting skip. After a few minutes the skip was overflowing with tyres, crab pots, fencing, traffic cones, glass, fishing wire and much more.

The Partnership are extremely grateful to Darts Farm who provided a tractor and trailer to help transport the litter back to the shore that was expertly driven by Dave Collingwood who was a fantastic help to all of the volunteers.  We would also like to say a massive thank you to Stuart Line Cruises for once again providing the volunteers with a much deserved cruise as a thank you for their hard work.  Rather than travelling into the estuary, as with previous events, the cruise travelled along the Jurassic Coast Line to the Kittiwake colony at Orcombe Rocks where the volunteers were treated to a fantastic display of diving Gannets, fishing just metres from the boat.

The spring clean up was our 6th event in the last few years demonstrating the local commitment and pride to the estuary that exists within the Partnership and local communities.  Marine litter is a global problem that we can all make a real difference to on a local level.  As well as volunteering time to clean up the Exe there are many ways that everybody can help to maintain the health of this globally important environment, see our Marine litter feature to find out more.


About Our Clean UpsFamily at Clean Up

The Exe Estuary Management Partnership organises clean up events on the Estuary every 6 months, generally at the Local Nature Reserve offshore from the Imperial Recreation Ground at Exmouth.  Within a couple of hours the teams can clean literally tonnes of rubbish from the Estuary and can make a huge difference to the condition and safety of this fantastic site.

Litter has detrimental effects for our wildlife, our environment and our economy.      

The presence of litter on the Exe not only devalues the beauty and enjoyment of the Estuary but can impact upon our tourist industry which many local businesses rely on.  We can all help to make a difference by remembering to take our litter home with us or using bins provided when visiting the Estuary.  

Litter is a particular problem for our marine environment.  It causes the death of thousands of seabirds - and other creatures - every year as they ingest it or get tangled up, eventually dying through choking or strangulation.


Exe Clean Ups Help to Tackle Damaging Effects of Ghost Fishing

Ghost fishing occurs when fishing gear, such as nets, traps and pots, are lost or intentially abandoned at sea.  This lost gear continues to ‘fish' long after it has been discarded, causing marine animals to become entangled and die needlessly.  The death toll of nets is perpetuated when predatory species, such as dolphins looking for an easy meal, are attracted to the net to feed on the entangled fish and subsequently become entangled themselves.

The consequences of baited pots or traps that are used for catching crabs and lobsters, are similar.  The pots, which are moored on the seabed with a line and float to mark their position on the surface, are easily lost if the line is broken by passing craft or stormy conditions.  Fish and crustaceans lured inside the baited pot are trapped and subsequently die.  Their bodies, baiting the pot once again, attract other fish and crustaceans to their deaths.

Ghost fishing is a regrettable consequence of fishing which, when combined with the other impacts of litter as well as over-fishing and climate change, can spell disaster for our marine environment.

At the Exe Estuary Management Partnership we aim to take practical action to protect the wildlife of the estuary.  Our 6-monthly clean up events, which are dependent on conscientious local volunteers, collect a massive amount of litter from the Exe including crab pots and fishing nets which might otherwise be left to continue ‘ghost fishing'.

Learn More about the damaging impacts of litter




General Information about Exe Estuary Clean Ups

  • Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult

  • Gloves, litter pickers and bags will be provided

  • Sensible waterproof footwear such as Wellington boots is essential

  • Waterproof clothing is strongly recommended

We can all make a difference to the future of litter on the Estuary by opting for low packaging alternatives, reusing, recycling and when visiting the Estuary please remember to take your litter home with you or use bins where provided.