From bottles to helium balloons - cleaning up the waters around a North Sea barrier island
- Credit: Archant
Tennis balls, men’s shoes and helium balloons are just some of the detritus that finds its way into the waters around Scolt Head Island in north Norfolk.
It's a problem Wayne Dodds, of Burnham Market, knows well.
Mr Dodds regularly takes his kayak out around the north Norfolk beauty spot - sometimes just for exercise, but often to clean up around a part of the coastline he has come to know and love.
He said he had found "absolutely everything" in the waters around the island, which is a barrier between the North Sea and part of the coastline.
Mr Dodds said: "There is stuff that's come off fishing boats - clothing, every sort of food container, children's toys, and of course plastic bottles.
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"A lot of it is what I call accidental sea litter. For instance, I find no end of tennis balls which have been thrown to the dog and floated of into the big blue. Once I saw a really nice men's running shoe.
"My main public enemy is helium balloons.
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"I find no end of them and with there long plastic cord I think they are a big danger to wildlife so I always pick these up."
Mr Dodds, who runs a gallery and framing business at Creake Abbey, goes out before and after work from the car park at Burnham Overy Staithe, and whenever the tides are right.
He said: "I suppose I first started combining my litter picks with my kayak trips last year, and once I started it just became part of my trips out there.
"It doesn't bother me to do it, in fact I quiet enjoy it. It's great being out there mainly on my own with time to think and relax while I do a bit of good for the environment.
"I've got better at it, too. I soon learnt that bin bags were of no use as they would get ripped to easily so I now use a large coffee sack."
He said although he had always been concerned about the environment, popular nature documentaries such as Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet II had "brought home" the dangers to the environment abut pollution.
Mr Dodds said: "I have a little daughter and I like to think that I am also doing it for her generation as they are the ones who will suffer more from the effects on the environment."
Scolt Head Island: A Norfolk gem
A barrier island, Scolt Head is home to colonies of tern species including Arctic, Sandwich, common and little terns. It also supports birds including pink-footed geese, curlews and wigeons, and birdwatching is one of the main reason people visit the island.
The island has a 4mi-long shingle and sand beach and its landscape is also made up of salt marshes and areas of sea grass.
A ferry takes visitors from Burnham Overy Staithe to the east of the island during spring and summer, and although it is possible to walk there when the tide is out, this is not recommended as it can be dangerous due to deep mud and rapid tidal changes.
Despite the litter that Mr Dodds collects, it is the limited access to the island that has meant Scolt Head has remained one of Norfolk's least-spoilt corners.
Scolt Head is part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest.