The Big Herm Beach Clean – Womble Hunt

  1. Follow the clues to find the Wombles
  2. Note down the letter printed on the front of each
  3. Find out some nature facts about Herm along the way 
  4. Re-arrange the letters to find the secret Guernésiais word

Clue 1: A useful guide to the island when we land !

Herm, Jethou and The Humps make up a RAMSAR Site. This is a designation given to areas with globally important wetland habitats. The islands and their sea shore are very important for species of fish, sea bird and marine mammals such as seals and dolphins. Read all about it on the information board by this clue. 

Look out for the Womble by an information board at the top of the Rosaire Steps

Clue 2: A beach for someone using a hook, line and sinker!

Look out for reeds (Phragmites australis) usually found in fresh water habitats, forming dense stands known as “reed beds”. In the UK these can be huge and are home to very important birds, such as bitterns. Here it is very unusual as it is growing on the side of the beach. Whilst it can tolerate some salt water – it’s not marine. However, the freshwater run-off from the land helps provide enough freshwater so it can survive.

Find the stairs that lead down to Fisherman’s Beach (just along the harbour on the main walk from harbour towards Shell beach)

Clue 3: This beach could be home to a creature that’s brown, black or even grizzly!

Just offshore here and back down towards the harbour are seagrass beds (Zostera marina and Z. noltii). A grass, just like you find on land, which forms large patches, called meadows. It produces flowers and seeds. It is a very important habitat in the fight against climate change – it can sequester carbon dioxide more efficiently than the Amazon rainforest! It’s also home to seahorses. Z. noltii, or dwarf eelgrass, is very rare in the bailiwick – in fact this is the only place where it’s known to form a ‘meadow’

Head along to the entrance to Bear Beach

Clue 4: Where someone might be buried.. but not a church graveyard

This burial mound or ‘Dolmen’ dates is Robert’s Cross and dates from the Neolithic period (2000BC – 5000BC). What do you think people might have eaten in this time when they couldn’t go to a supermarket?

Head to Robert’s Cross on the way to Shell Beach from the harbour

Clue 5: There might be lots of shells nearby but they don’t belong in these bins ! 

Look out to sea to see The Humps – comprised of 9 rocky islets and 6 sand banks, this is an important breeding grounds for seals and sea birds, such as fulmars, cormorants, European shags, guillimots and razorbills. Guillimots, razorbills and puffins are all small birds in a group known as ‘Auks’ (not to be confused with Orcs from Lord of the Rings!). The Herm Ramsar site contains almost 40% of the region’s breeding razorbills.

Bins near the kiosk at Shell beach

Clue 6: Help! We’ve been invaded by a….  fruit ?!

This Womble is buried in a patch of angular sea fig (Carpobrotus glaucascens) which is an invasive non-native plant. A relative of the invasive species found in Guernsey (sour fig – C. edulis) and proving to be just as invasive! It threatens to smother native grasslands and sea bird nesting habitats. There are ongoing projects to pull out and remove the fig – contact the Biodiversity Partnership if you want to get involved and help!

Head to Belvoir and look about at the top of the beach

Clue 7: Let’s hope we don’t need help from this building during our beach clean !

Look around to see Herm’s power station, which uses diesel generators to provide the energy needed for Herm’s residents. 

 

Head to the fire station in the middle of the island 

Map of clues... if you need it !