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Countryfile Comes to Kimmeridge!

June 12, 2012

By Emma Godden

Despite Friday 1st June being a greyer day than we have become accustomed to over the last couple of weeks (well the Bank Holiday was on its way so what could we expect?!), Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Welly Zone volunteers arrived at the Fine Foundation Marine Centre ‘wellied up’ and raring to go, determined to reveal to the Countryfile team the marvellous marine life we have here at Kimmeridge and demonstrate just what the Welly Zone project is all about.  What better way to do this than by getting them out with us on Washing Ledge for a responsible rummage?!

With the camera rolling and armed with their ‘Wildlife on your Seashore’ ID guides, Welly Zone volunteers John Avey, Helen and Steve Earwicker, Andy Marsh, Glynis Northwood, Anne Watts, Kay Weeks and myself, Emma Godden – headed up by Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer – set about surveying the rocky ledge habitat on and around Washing Ledge for species that have been identified as being of particular interest.  We were able to introduce presenter Adam Henson and the rest of the Countryfile team to some of these species including: peacock’s tail seaweed, Japanese seaweed and snakelocks anemones.  Anne also spotted a fair-sized spiny spider crab which, after surviving a standoff with a beautiful but notoriously nippy velvet swimming crab, looks set to have secured its 5 minutes of fame after Adam became fascinated by its camouflage – this crafty creature attaches bits of seaweed to its carapace for a rather effective disguise.  We were also treated to a shoal of sand eels making an appearance although – perhaps camera shy – they managed to go about their business just as the camera team headed off to the other end of Washing Ledge!  The same is true of the solitary sea spider that was spotted. 

Following the rock-pool ramble, Adam and the Countryfile team took to the water, joining Marine Warden Marc Smith and an instructor from Secondwind Watersports on a Kayak Safari to explore the different habitats within the colourful, shallow waters of Kimmeridge Bay. The glass-bottomed kayaks reveal the secrets of the seabed such as snakelocks anemone gardens, seaweed forests and rocky reef inhabitants.  Adam was particularly amazed by the Magic Seaweed, named as such as it ‘magically’ changes colour from brown when dry to an iridescent blue-green/purple colour when underwater. 

As if all this wasn’t enough, Steve Trewhella introduced Adam and the crew to one of Kimmeridge’s specialities – the very rare and extremely tiny Lagoon Snail – which has never been filmed for TV before, a real treat!

Thank you to Adam and the film crew who were all lovely, and to all the volunteers who came to help, it really was a great day.  

Make sure you tune in to Countryfile on BBC1 on Sunday 17th June!

Text: Emma Godden  Photos:  Steve Trewhella UK Coastal Wildlife

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kayak Safaris will run every Tuesday until 14th August 2012 and include a presentation by a Dorset Wildlife Trust marine specialist and 1 hour on the water.  For more information please call me on 01929 481044 or email me at kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

To register as a Welly Zone Volunteer and benefit from identification and species training in order to complete surveys on your local beach, please complete the application form online and send to  kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Karen Coombes permalink
    June 12, 2012 12:23 pm

    Great article!

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