Last weekend, two of us went down to the Winspit Quarries to see if we needed to organize a team to clear up the litter down there. Three hours later, the answer was a definite NO! We’d only managed to fill a large carrier bagful of litter, even if we did have to crush 11 cans to make them fit. We also had to leave a muddy memory foam mattress down there to be collected by the National Trust team later.
It was a very different story in November 2016. Over two days at the end of that month, 8 volunteers collected 11 dustbin-size bags full as well as a lot of bulky items including discarded camping equipment and a garden barbeque (sorry, we didn’t photograph the larger items). The Rangers of the National Trust organized transport to bring everything back up the 2 km track.
Thursday 17th November 2016
The day dawned overcast with a strong westerly wind, definitely not ideal weather for litter-picking on exposed cliffs. However the call for volunteers had gone out and it was too late to cancel now. We thought that nobody would turn up anyway, but we had to be there just in case. Pretty soon the weather closed in and it was raining, but we arrived early ato the meeting point at Worth Village car park for the 10 o’clock start. It had stopped raining by the time we got there and we were surprised when the team gradually swelled to 7. After a short briefing and a distribution of kit we began the long trek down to the old quarries.
Saturday 26th November 2016
We’d planned the second day for a weekend hoping that more people would be free to help. In spite of better weather, there were just 4 of us with 3 from last time and one new volunteer who’d travelled from Wareham. Thankfully, we’d broken the back of the work previously and reckoned we could complete the job with a smaller team, even if it would take a bit longer. And so we did, but we did feel it was a good idea to warm up by clearing a bit of litter in the village before we set off.
In the intervening five years or so, we’ve monitored the situation down there and never needed to organize another team event to deal with the litter. Why is this? Clearly, people haven’t stopped littering, but we do know that people are more inclined now to pick up after those that do litter. We spoke to some climbers down there and they do that very thing. It is also true, that if a place is kept clean people are more inclined to want to keep it that way.
So a big thank you to everyone who plays their part in keeping this beautiful place beautiful. And, an even bigger thank you to those Litter-Free Purbeck pioneers who led the way: Hugh Cochrane, Helen Gadd, Nick Haslam, Moira Higgs, David Johnson, Jane Kirwin, Graham Lee, and the National Trust Rangers.
If you’d like to help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org