Family visits to the coast fell by a fifth in the last ten years, says the National Trust

The study found that more than half of all adults have not had a single day at the seaside in the last year

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The Independent Online

Given the right weather the magic of exploring rockpools and fish and chips on a bucket and spade break can eclipse any sun-kissed holiday abroad, but families are increasingly falling out of love with Britain’s rugged coastlines and pebble beaches.

According to a 10-year-long study by the National Trust, family visits to the seaside have declined by 20 per cent since 2005, while more than half of all adults have not had a single day at the seaside in the last year.

The YouGov study of 9,000 people by the heritage charity documents a steady decline in the nation’s love affair with the coast, despite research suggesting 88 per cent of adults view the coastline as a “national treasure”.

In worrying reading for tourism bosses the survey also found that 18 to 24 year olds are “far less connected” with the English, Welsh and Northern Irish coastlines than those ages over 55.

The charity found 29 per cent of families blames a lack of spare time for failing to get to the costs, while 23 per cent of respondents said the seaside was too busy on the rare days when scorching weather is predicted.

 

The National Trust manages 775 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including vast swathes of Cornwall, Rhossili beach on the Gower and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and in a campaign to reverse the tide has launched a “Love The Coast” campaign this summer and has asked poet Dr John Cooper Clarke to create a poem for the coast.

This summer also sees the 50th anniversary of its Neptune Coastline campaign, one of the longest running environmental project in Europe, which in 2012 raised £1.2m for the charity to complete the purchase of a five-mile stretch of beach just under the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent.

Gwen Potter, a volunteer ranger with the National Trust, said: “The British coastline is a magical place and can offer such a diverse range of experiences – from a coastal walk to rock-pooling and just feeling a sense of freedom when kicking off your shoes. I think the coast offers a real sense of togetherness when you visit with loved ones, and this is what makes the coast so special to me.’’

The latest National Trust could make grim reading for tourist firms, despite coming after Britain baked in sizzling temperatures over the weekend with temperatures rising to 27C at Gravesend in Kent, while tourist bosses in Cornwall said they were confident that the so-called Poldark effect, named after the BBC drama with Aidan Turner and stunning Cornish scenery, would continue to bring a tourist boom to the county.

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