Volunteers get stuck into River Otter estuary litter pick

OVA litter pick

Some 29 volunteers picked litter or supported the event in other ways - Credit: Peter Bowler

The annual Otter estuary litter-pick took place at low tide on Saturday following the cancellation of the spring event due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The event is organised by the Otter Valley Association with support from Clinton Devon Estates.
Some 29 volunteers picked litter or supported the event in other ways. Two volunteers new to the event unfortunately found themselves in difficulty when they got well and truly stuck whilst crossing a muddy creek. A third volunteer raised the alarm. This is the first time that volunteers have become stuck.
Event organisers and volunteers were quick to respond and with the aid of a wooden pallet and some plastic boxes managed to free them and their deeply sunken wellies. All involved were unhurt but rather muddy. To their great credit the volunteers were undeterred and continued to help collect litter.
Perhaps as a result of few flooding events on the Otter this year and increased litter picks on Budleigh beach, less litter than usual was found on the estuary, especially agricultural plastics. Finding litter on the estuary in the autumn has proved more difficult due to increased plant growth. Covid restrictions permitting, the event will return to its normal time next spring.
The OVA are very grateful to Derek Wensley, chairman of East Budleigh Parish Council, who participated for the first time. At the end of the event, Mr Wensley selected the two most unusual items found, a large boat’s fender discovered near White Bridge by Brian Hodges and a punch ball found by Iain Ure on the mud flats. Both received a £20 voucher. Another volunteer came upon a toy Nemo but on return discovered that their slippery find had escaped through a hole in the collection bag and awaits re-discovery next spring.
Special thanks to Neil Hembrow from Keep Britain Tidy for providing bag hoops and pickers, to East Devon District Council’s Street Scene for arranging waste bags and litter collection and Kate Ponting from East Devon Pebblebed Heaths for helping to organise and support the event.