Some of the strangest things to wash up on Welsh beaches

The Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world, so it is hardly surprising its ebbing and flowing throws up the odd surprise onto the beaches that surround it.

Animals and items from all over the world frequently wash up on the shores around south Wales, some having travelled thousands of miles before ending up on our beaches.

From bombs to body parts, there’s a fair bit of variety when it comes to things left behind by the sea.

Here’s a just a small selection of the weird and wonderful items that have been found on our shores.

Shipping container

The shipping container has washed up on Gileston Beach near Aberthaw Power Station
(Image: Cameron Sims)

A 40ft shipping container washed up on Gileston Beach near Aberthaw Power Station last October.

It was one of 11 which had fallen from a ship in the Bristol Channel, some of which were full of nappies and sanitary products – those items swept up along the beaches of south Wales and north Devon over the following weeks.

Suspected ordnance

One of the three items found at Whiteford Sands, alongside a mobile phone to show scale
(Image: Oxwich Coastguard Rescue Team)

Experts weren’t sure exactly what the three items were which washed up on Whiteford Stands on Gower last June – but they weren’t taking any chances.

Bomb disposal units were called after a member of the public came across the suspected ordnance. After checking for chemicals and x-rays, two of the objects were blown up in controlled explosions.

An engraved tree

The engraved tree on Langland Bay with members of the Cartwright family


A tree with a curious carving on it appeared before a visitor to Langland Bay in 2014.

Walker Sue Mortimer turned to the South Wales Evening Post when she encountered the tree which had engraved on the trunk was ‘Linda C 16-07-47 – 22-07-201’

The mystery was solved when reader Jason Cartwright came forward to explain the carving was in memory of his late mother who spent so much time at the beach before her death two years earlier. The tree had in fact been situated at the end of the beach, but had washed back up on the sand.

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Endangered shark

The shark that washed up ashore on a beach in Burry Port
(Image: Eden Lewis)

They live in the sea so it shouldn’t be that big a surprise, but spotting a beached shark on the sands does still come as a surprise.

A tope shark, up to five foot in length and a species which is classified as a critically endangered, was discovered on the beach at Burry Port in Carmarthenshire beach last May.

Palm oil

Fatbergs of congealed palm oil can be dangerous for dogs

The fatbergs of palm oil have been found on a number of Welsh beaches, and can be fatal to dogs.

They smell of diesel and are covered in germs and come from the pulp of the fruit of African, American and Maripa palms and are washed over from the Caribbean.

An African eel

No-one is quite sure how the eel came to be on the beach in Porthcawl
(Image: MEDIA WALES)

A Zebra Moray eel, typically found off the coast of Africa, was spotted in Porthcawl last September – but no-one knows how it got there.

The eel is considered a medium-sized fish and can reach a maximum length of 150cm. Its presence triggered speculation to whether it had been dumped on the beach.

Human skull

The human skull found on Cefn Sidan

One of the most disconcerting finds was a human skull discovered at Cefn Sidan.

A few years later in 2005 a human funny bone was also found at the same beach.

A 13-year-old school pupil found the bone, which was later tested, but it is not known if either of the human remains were ever identified.

Aeroplane parts

The Air India plane – not pictured – exploded off the coast of Ireland
(Image: Copyright Unknown)

In 1986 parts of an Air India passenger jet were discovered at Pembrey.

The plane parts were some of the remains of an aeroplane blown up by a bomb planted by Sikh extremists, the previous year, which exploded off the coast of Ireland. 329 people on board died in the terror act.

Mystery object covered in an expensive delicacy

The mystery object covered in goosenecked barnacles
(Image: Michael Jones)

Goosenecked barnacles are delicacy in countries such as Spain and Portugal. So when a mystery object covered in thousands of them appeared on a north Gower beach, it could have been an opportunity for someone with the means to drag the items back with them as the shellfish sell for up to £80 a pound.

However, at ten foot long and a dead weight, it remained in place where visitors could walk onto Whiteford Sands and scratch their heads as they tried to work out what they shellfish were attached to.

A similar discovery was made in Oxwich in 2009.

‘A sea monster’

The remains of the ‘sea monster’

A couple walking encountered the remains of an 11ft long mystery creature washed up on Morfa Beach in Port Talbot in 2016.

Sharing their images on social media, speculation ran rife about the identify of the animal.

Some suggested it may have been the remains of a whale, but other more outlandish suggestions included a sea monster or a dinousaur.

A long-nose whale was probably the most likely explanation for the ‘beast of Morfa’

Prehistoric footprints

The ancient footprints were discovered at Port Eynon on Gower

The ancient footprints were discovered at Port Eynon on Gower
(Image: Cardiff University/PA Wire)

The post-ice age human footprints, dating back some 7,000-years-old, were discovered at Port Eynon beach in 2014 at low tide.

Radiocarbon dating work placed the fragile footprints in the Mesolithic period when humans were predominantly hunting and gathering.

Message in a bottle

The Police with message in a bottle

Police officers on patrol at Aberavon Beach discovered a message in a bottle in 2008 – which had survived a voyage of thousands of miles from America.

The message had been sent from Beaufort Middle School in Beaufort, North Carolina, as part of a project students were conducting on the Gulf Stream.

The officers contact the school to let them know it had been discovered.

World’s rarest sea turtle

The Kemp’s Ridley turtle which washed up on Llangennith beach in December 2019
(Image: Phillippa Davies)

A rare and critically endangered turtle was found dead in Llangennith.

The Kemp’s Ridley turtle was believed to be only the third of its kind to be found on Welsh shores, as they are mostly seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is the rarest and most endangered species of sea turtle in the world.

Experts believe it was most likely washed up on the Gower coastline due to extreme weather conditions.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish on Cefn Sidan sands
(Image: Wales News Service)

Hundreds of barrel jellyfish have appeared on the Cefn Sidan sands.

Harmless to humans, they can reach up to 35 inches in diameter.

They also don’t look very nice.

A bomb and a grenade!

The shell discovered on Cefn Sidan beach
(Image: Stuart Davies)

Same beach, different time.

In 2015 bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion following the discovery of an unexploded World War Two bomb discovered at Cefn Sidan.

The following year another war relic was discovered when a grenade was washed ashore.

That too underwent a controlled explosion.

Dinosaur print

The dinosaur footprint

It didn’t exactly wash up, but it was quite a find. Just last month four-year-old schoolgirl Lily Wilder discovered a 215 million-year-old dinosaur footprint along the coast between Barry and Sully.

Experts from Archaeology Cymru described it as ‘the finest impression of a 215 million-year-old dinosaur print found in Britain in a decade’.

Sadly, the perfect 10cm print which was left by a small bipedal dinosaur was damaged days later by people with sledgehammers.

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/washed-up-welsh-shore-dinosaurs-19868132