Oh, we do like a blue beside our seaside!

Blue Flag; Avon Beach, Highcliffe Beach, Friar’s Cliff Beach huts

Words and pictures by Lorraine Gibson.
Three of our nearest beaches, Avon Beach, Highcliffe and Friars Cliff have more than the Jubilee to celebrate after they achieved Blue Flags for the first time.
In fact our Christchurch, Poole and Bournemouth beaches all (sand)bagged environmental awards from the Keep Britain Tidy charity – ironic, considering those bleak media images of Dorset’s litter-strewn beaches in the aftermath of the crowds that flocked to the coast between Covid Lockdowns.
While the Blue Flag (and Seaside Awards) recognise great beaches – of which we’re blessed with many – they also highlight how crucial the clearing-up efforts of council staff, conservationists, locals and volunteers are. It was they who restored our sands to golden from grotty and our promenades from trashed to postcard-perfect.
Along the coast, Sandbanks is also in jubilant mood, being one of only two beaches in the country to have scooped a Blue Flag award every year for 35 years, making it one of the world’s best beaches.
In total, BCP beaches won 26 awards and 12 Blue Flags – more than any other authority.

So what makes a beach worthy of the iconic international ensign?
It’s not just the quality of the beach, it’s how it’s managed, the facilities on offer and, increasingly, the standard of its environmental education programmes.
The BCP area’s other Blue Flag beaches are Alum Chine, Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs, Durley Chine, Fisherman’s Walk, Shore Road, Southbourne and Manor Steps.
Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “We’re so proud of the number of awards we’ve received. The team works incredibly hard to care for our beaches and there has been a phenomenal amount of work done behind the scenes.
“We consider ourselves lucky to be the guardians of such a breathtaking stretch of coastline and it’s great to know that Keep Britain Tidy have given us their stamp of approval.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said: “The success of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole beaches in reaching the high standards demanded is testament to all those who have worked so hard – from beach managers and volunteers to local residents and local
“The huge commitment that is needed to maintain marvellous beaches worthy of these awards cannot be underestimated.”

Blue Flag, Avon Beach
Avon Beach
Blue Flag, Highcliffe Beach
Highcliffe Beach
Blue Flag, Friar’s Cliff Beach huts
Friar’s Cliff Beach huts

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