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Sandy Beaches

Brett Westwood and Phil Gates take a look at razor clams and sand hoppers, most likely to be found on sandy beaches. From March 2016.

The sandy beach is one of the most hostile habitats on our coastline.

To survive the driving wind, abrasive sand and predation by sea birds, animals either spend much of their lives below the surface or have evolved some very clever adaptations - as Brett Westwood discovers when he joins naturalist Phil Gates on the Northumberland coast.

With the help of recordings by wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, they offer a practical and entertaining guide to the wildlife which you’re most likely to see and hear on sandy beaches.

On the lower shore, they wander amongst the lugworm burrows in search of razor clams and pogoing cockles! Brett discovers not only how razor clams escape predation by burrowing into the sand with their muscular foot, but also how to age them “It’s great I’ve come all the way to Northumberland to age a mollusc“, laughs Brett.

Higher up the beach, Brett and Phil gently rake through piles of decaying seaweed to discover a seething mass of jumping sand hoppers; small crustaceans about the size of a woodlouse with legs of two different lengths, which move up and down the beach with the tides. And finally at the top of the beach at the front of the sand dunes, they discuss the remarkable abilities of marram grass not only to avoid drying out, but also to hold back the sand and create stable areas where communities of other plants can take root and grow.

Producer: Sarah Blunt

Available now

15 minutes

Last on

Wed 27 Mar 2019 02:15


  • Tue 29 Mar 2016 13:45
  • Sat 13 Aug 2016 15:15
  • Tue 26 Mar 2019 14:15
  • Wed 27 Mar 2019 02:15