Ruda joined forces with local artists, charities and children, to create the art installation on Croyde beach - Credit: Parkdean Resorts

Giant whale mural created on Croyde beach

Joseph Bulmer

Ruda Holiday Park, in Croyde, has joined forces with local artists, charities and school children, to create a temporary art installation on Croyde beach, to highlight the amount of unwanted beach tents, chairs and windbreakers left on the beach every year.

With the help of Sarah Jellard, Director of Community Environmental Educational Therapy (CEET) CIC, the team at Ruda brought together pupils from Pilton College, Pilton Bluecoats and Marland School, with local beach artists, Karen Atkinson and Jill Burley, to create a giant, temporary mural of a whale to highlight the scale of rubbish left at Croyde Beach each year. Measuring in excess of 45 metres in length – even longer than a Blue Whale – the mural comprised more than 120 beach tents and chairs, over 40 windbreaks, and countless broken beach toys, shoes, goggles and much more.

Ruda Holiday Park is owned by Parkdean Resorts, one the UK’s leading holiday park operators. Parkdean says it is committed to responsibly managing the beach to keep it fun, inviting and clean for the community as well as the many holidaymakers who visit each year, with teams from the park carrying out regular beach cleans alongside volunteers from the local community, to ensure it remains safe for swimmers, surfers and walkers, as well as the diverse flora and fauna which inhabit the beach and nearby sand dunes.

Measuring in excess of 45 metres in length – even longer than a Blue Whale – the mural comprised more than 120 beach tents and chairs, over 40 windbreaks, and countless broken beach toys, shoes, goggles and much more

The unwanted or broken beach tents, camping chairs, beach toys, and other similar items, were left by beachgoers at a single collection box installed by the park at the entrance to the beach. Many of the items cannot be recycled or reused, and go to landfill, however, the tents are donated to the 2 Minute Foundation, which repurposes the material into beach clean bags.

Holly Robertson, Beach Manager, Parkdean Resorts’ Ruda Holiday Park, said: “Many of the items left on our beach cannot be recycled or reused, and go direct to landfill, so we want to highlight the amount of unwanted beach tents, chairs and windbreakers left on the beach every year. We have a regular programme of beach cleans throughout the year, as well as educational sessions for local schools, but we wanted to do something on a large scale to show just how much rubbish is left on the beach, and the harm it causes.”

Sarah Jellard, Director of Community Environmental Educational Therapy (CEET) CIC, commented: “I’ve worked with Holly on a number of educational initiatives and I know how hard the team at Ruda work to keep the beach clean and safe. I’m passionate about helping young people to understand about caring for our beaches, and being able to bring lots of young people to Croyde with our talented artists is a fun way to communicate a really important message.”

Beach artists, Jill Burley and Karen Atkinson, added: “We’re used to creating pieces of art using whatever we find lying around on a beach, but usually it’s stones and shells, not tents and camping chairs! The scale of the mural we’ve been able to create really does demonstrate the challenge that we all face to keep our beaches clean, and hopefully we’ve been able to inspire the next generation to take pride in the local area care for the community.”

The mural was created to highlight the growing beach waste problem on North Devon's beaches

Nicky Green, CEO of the 2 Minute Foundation, said: “It’s so important to highlight just how many unwanted and broken items are left on beaches every year. All this has come just from Croyde beach, so the amount across the nation’s beaches is staggering. Fortunately, we are able to repurpose the beach tents, so all of the tents used to create this amazing whale will be recycled through our partners at Rooted Ocean Ltd.”