Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Year to Remember

Bob Smith (drink in hand, centre) at the triumphant end of the Trident Trek, one of the events which marked the 50th anniversary of our Coastline Campaign
2015 was a big year for us.  It was the year that we put our wonderful coastline centre stage.

The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the initiative which saved hundreds of miles of our unspoilt coast, including some of Wales' best loved beaches, protected forever for future generations to enjoy. 

The initiative is the Coast Campaign, originally Enterprise Neptune, which has so far helped us protect over a hundred miles of Welsh coast - all through public donations.

Making an Impression

The year got off to a cracking start with a day's celebrations led by Springwatch star Iolo Williams.  The event was held in March, on the anniversary of the acquisition of the place where the Neptune campaign started - Whiteford Burrows on Gower.

The local team pulled out all the stops, with a fantastic programme of walks and talks to show what's been achieved since Whiteford Burrows was acquired.
Iolo Williams, launching our year of coastal celebrations at Whiteford Burrows
Our Gower volounteer team worked with sand artist Marc Treanor to create this huge map, marked with all the sites that have been saved with the Neptune campaign.

Walking and Sailing around the edge of Wales

June saw two ambitious sponsored circumnavigations of Wales - on foot and by sail.  The Trident Trek and Sails Around Wales events, both of which were covered extensively in this blog. Follow the links to enjoy tales from these two epic achievements.
The Trident Trek reaches Cardiff Bay - both trident and Welsh dragon held proudly aloft
Laura Hughes takes the helm on a 'commute of a lifetime' with Sails Around Wales skipper, John Whitley, in the Bardsey Sound.
Follow in my wake, starting on Day 1 of Sails Around Wales

A Toast to the Coast

July saw our Big Beach Picnic which gave beachgoers all over Wales a chance to get in the holiday mood and celebrate our coast with a picnic.  Hundreds of people packed their hampers, travel rugs and folding chairs and headed to on of our four events - in Llanbedrog, Marloes, Barafundle and Rhossili.

The highlight was a grand concert overlooking the beach at Rhossili beach, with the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir and the Penclawdd Brass Band. 

Crowds gather in the July sunshine to listen to a programme of music at the Big Beach Picnic
Sale of the half century?

The Coast Campaign's latest acquisition, Y Parc, forms the summit plateau of the Great Orme
The cherry on the cake of this celebratory year was the purchase of Y Parc, a farm on the summit of the Great Orme headland.  The farm has been described as 'the missing piece of this internationally-important conservation jigsaw'.  We are now able to help a number of other conservation bodies, including PlantLife, Conwy Council, RSPB and Natural Resources Wales to better safeguard this important nature reserve.

Shifting Shores

The year's activities culminated with an important debate about the future of our coastline.  The 'Shifting Shores - the Next Ten Years' seminar saw policy-makers and coastal stakeholders from all over Wales meeting in Swansea to hear expert talks, to learn from case studies and to discuss priorities for working together to make our coast more resilient to climate change.
Cwm Ivy Gower - the sea wall breaches and 100 acres of farmland is flooded.  Disaster or opportunity?
A new bird hide, overlooking the new salt marsh at Cwm Ivy, funded by our Coast Campaign.  Just one of a range of exiting improvements which have come in the wake of the breaching of the sea wall.
Thank you for reading this small sample of our coastal celebrations in 2015, and I look forward to keeping you in touch with what's happening on the National Trust's Welsh coastline in 2016 and beyond.

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