Shoreline

The area above the strand line is mostly dry except for the very highest tides so a different range of plants and animals are able to live here but they must still be able to cope with the occasional soaking with salt water!


The shoreline at Dell Quay

The shoreline at Dell Quay is shingle at the top of the beach and becomes increasingly muddy further down.

The strand line can produce some interesting finds! In among rubbish carried by the tide such as old boots, bits of string and wood you might find white cuttlefish bones. This bone forms the inside skeleton of a fascinating animal which looks a bit like an octopus and can change colour when it wants to!

Small white crab shells are not what they seem. They are not dead crabs but are the shell left by the crab after it has grown a new bigger one. It sheds the old one, takes in water to expand the new one and then hides until the new bigger one has hardened.

Sandhoppers are about 2 cm long and live among the debris of the strandline feeding on dead and decaying matter. They are able to jump and may land in your lunch box if you are picnicking too near the high tide line!

Wading birds such as the redshank and turnstone enjoy foraging among the bladderwrack, seaweed and under pieces of wood looking for things to eat.


Threats

The shoreline, especially the strandline can be badly affected by pollution such as oil and other harmful substances as it can become concentrated among the debris of the strandline.

Shorelines like that at Dell Quay are heavily used by people for keeping and launching boats. Quay, jetties and pontoon are built across the beach to help access to deeper water. Bits of boat and old structures are left behind from days gone by. Some of these are interesting, others ugly and potentially dangerous.

Human litter from beach users and rubbish washed up by the tide can affect the shoreline.

Rising sea levels are also a problem. Sea walls and other sea defences have been built to protect houses and farmland, so the beach gets smaller as the water level rises.

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Food Chain

Dead plants ► Sandhopper ► Turnstone