Become a community scientist!

Some of the beaches with CoastSnap cameras in the south west

Your photo could catalogue coastal erosion

Here’s a chance not just to follow the science, but help inform it.

A number of local councils, in conjunction with Plymouth Coastal Observatory (PCO) have placed camera points around beaches on the south west coast. They want people to helping to become what they’re calling ‘community scientists’ who will help identify coastal erosion.

Five ‘CoastSnap stations’ are at key beaches in Devon. To get involved, people need to find one of the camera mounts, put their smartphone into the cradle and take a photo of the beach from the fixed perspective. Once this has been done, they can share it with Plymouth Coastal Observatory via their website or by email, making sure the date and time of the photograph is noted.

The project, which is funded by the Environment Agency, is targeting particularly vulnerable beaches where there is significant erosion. The data will be used to inform beach management decisions and improve understanding of coastal processes. PCO’s Joseff Saunders said, “With enough images submitted over a length of time, we will better understand the natural erosion and recovery cycles that our beaches undergo along with gauging the impact of high energy storm events”.

The five Devon beaches are:

  • Dawlish Warren, South Devon (near the lifeguard hut by the beach entrance)
  • Sidmouth, South Devon (at the east end of the beach, overlooking Pennington Cliffs)
  • Wembury, South Devon (west of the beach entrance)
  • West Beach, West Bay (at the entrance to the harbour arm)
  • Westward Ho!, North Devon (on the sea wall, next to the beach entrance)

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said, “We hope the data gained through CoastSnap will help us see how sea level rise and climate change are starting to impact our coast, and that they will enable us to make appropriate decisions about how to respond to these pressures in the future.”

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