Taking a bucket and spade to the beach in order to make a sandcastle is something most British children will have done during the summer, and on the North Devon coast this predilection has been turned into an entertaining, light-hearted fund-raiser for the North Devon Hospice. With tongue firmly in cheek, this annual event has the grand title of the UK National Sandcastle Competition.
It began in the 1990s on Woolacombe beach, then had a brief stint at nearby Croyde Bay in 2013-14 and its home since 2019 has been the 1½-mile stretch of golden sand at Westward Ho! (the only place-name in the UK with an exclamation mark, as it was named after a book). At low tide the beach is ½-mile deep, so there is plenty of space for competing teams to have their 23ft.x23ft. pitches. Stealing from other teams is banned and all tools must be brought along by team members, though no large-scale machinery or scaffolding is allowed.
Adult teams of up to 6 members have 3 hours for construction, while children’s teams of up to 4 members have one hour. Judging then takes place and trophies are awarded. Successful designs have included a Dalek, campervan, tortoise, octopus, seahorse and dragon.
(Image: Neil Turner at Flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0)