Beach, bugs and bones on Britain’s best beach

How many legs does an insect have, what makes a spider not an insect, and how do you make a dribble tower? Just a few of the questions that were answered with the help of a bug hoover and a bucket of water at Discovery Bay event, Beach, Bugs and Bones, in Sandown.

Now in its fifth year, Beach, Bugs & Bones offers everyone who visits a fun introduction to exploring wildlife, from the everyday to the ever-so-old, on Sandown’s Science Beach and the Willow Walk beyond. The event offers a short glimpse into the natural sciences with a hint of taxonomy to start. It’s run by volunteers from the team at The Common Space, Arc and Artecology and is part of their free Discovery Bay programme of nature and science activities.

Beach, Bugs, Bones kicked off with the Big Fossil Hunt, a mini-celebration of Sandown Bay’s sandy beaches and fossil-rich shores, when, thanks to a loan of real fossils from Dinosaur Isle, our diggers discovered ammonites, turtle-shell fossil treasure boxes and even a fossilised elephant tooth. Meanwhile, Dribble Towers grew along the Science Beach groynes, and families photographed themselves with our new Britain’s Best Beach trophy. Then, at half-time, everyone upped spades and headed to the Lost Duver beyond the Willow Walk, to take a closer look at some of the smallest more modern day wildlife.

Nigel George, from The Common Space and Artecology, said: “The Science Beach and the Willlow Walk make great field study guides. Finding out how to identify wolf spiders and springtails and how they behave, alongside the sound of reed warblers and just a short walk from town, is more than just fun though. It helps us to read and appreciate our local environment better. Nature can and does offer us learning and inspiration everywhere with a bit of encouragement and we can recreate all this at home.