Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer

Beaches. No, I’m not being un-PC and derogatory in a Mexican accent. Neither am I talking about the weepy with Bette Midler. I’m talking about that age-old combination of sand and sea. The thing holiday memories are made of along with the scent of chip grease and vinegar and the crunch of sand in your sandwiches.

I love going to the beach. I love how diverse they are in terms of wildlife and scenery, from dunes and pine forests to soaring cliff faces. But I also like how you know what you’re going to get when you go there. A great experience that is just as brilliant whether you are jumping about in 6ft waves off the US coast dodging jellyfish in your swimsuit, or wrapped up warm watching the gulls as the wind batters you along the Cromer cliffs.

The beach is a magical place. I know how lucky I am to live within half an hour of the sea, especially when my friends from more inland locales visit and the only thing on their ‘to do’ list is a walk along the beach. I go all year through, although winter is my favourite time to go. The feeling of getting wrapped up, putting on a sturdy pair of shoes and going for a walk where you are buffeted by the elements for as long as you can stand is one of my absolute favourite things.

Plus a trip to the coast brings all kinds of wildlife treats and surprises. From a colony of seals with their pups at Horsey, shell hunting at Titchwell Marsh, discovering the Dickensian salt marshes of South Essex, to a washed up whale on Hunstanton beach. Look up and you’ll see all sorts of fabulous seabirds. Look down and you will find all manner of beach booty from shells and driftwood to crab carcases and sea cabbage.

And after a good walk along the beach, your legs aching from navigating the pebbly terrain or the steep cliff climb, you can reward yourself with a cup of tea and a tray of chips! Is there anything better?

Wherever you live, try and make it out to the beach at least once this winter. I promise that it will not only blow out all the cobwebs but it will invigorate your soul to be out there with nature and the elements. Get outdoors, get some sea air in your lungs and be glad that we live on an island with so many miles of amazing coastline.

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