Autumn time on Anglesey for us, is prime driftwood collecting time. The winter storms begin their surge and funnel all manner of flotsam up the shores of the beaches of Anglesey and north Wales. With spring tides and strong westerly winds inbound on the island, more and more driftwood washes ashore throughout the winter months, culminating in quite a stash at some locations.
Driftwood has become quite a thrifty resource in the past years online, with many artists demonstrating how to repurpose it and fashion it into wonderful pieces of art and sculptures. The effect is quite pleasing with the pieces fitting nicely into coastal homes to give them a more seaside feel.
Collecting it can be quite tricky as on the main beaches where everyone goes it is gone by the first tide almost, unless you are there after a big blow at low water you don’t stand much of a chance to get any. Thats why you must be creative in you choice of hunting.
Times and tide to find your driftwood on Anglesey
Most autumnal winds are westerly in direction, so most of the driftwood that gets washed up hands up on westerly shores. That gives you one coastline to focus on, rather than four and increases your chances dramatically. Main beaches are out, so that means a little off the beaten track locations work better. Its going to mean a walk most likely so best to pack a big rucksack for the spoils to get carried back.
Sometimes I will opt to drag a fish box on a rope behind me along the foreshore and collect waste plastics as we go, it serves as a two in one exercise, the shore goes us driftwood and we help clean the single use plastics up for the shore. Once full enough, myself and my girlfriend will carry it back to the car. Walks sometime can be far so bring a set of gloves for you hands too.
If you have the luxury of planning a hunt for driftwood on Anglesey, I would recommend you do so over low water on a big spring tide. I would also do this after a storm has run no matter what the size of the tide here. By big spring tide what I mean is a on a full moon or new moon.
Hot spots for finding driftwood on Anglesey
Some of the best spots I have found, have been accidental in most cases. Whilst out rock fishing at low water we often have access to caves or coves near by, and quick explore around will most of the time reveal some treasures for you. There also seems to be a definite pattern in big rocky bays like the range in Porth daffarch on holy island, where there are big back eddy currents that get the driftwood deposited in them out of the main current. Areas of strong tidal currents work well also, again mostly rocky areas of coastline again.
Most of these areas can be quite steep and inaccessible at best, so if you are venturing down to find some spoils, go in a pair, take a phone and wear sensible footwear as grassy slopes that are northern facing here stay wet and damp all day, which means slippage.
A tried and tested way to find some good driftwood finds is to walk parts of the Anglesey coastal path that are on the the west side. That way you can explore at the same time as getting some well earned sun rays and exercise on Anglesey. Take an OS map and a black highlighter pen to make a not of good locations. After figure out ways of access to get the car down for revival.
Other finds that can be useful and ornamental for the garden are old lobster pots and buoys from the pots. I get dozens of these each winter and they make great additions to a seaside rockery in the garden.
What art you can create from driftwood
Typically I’m no artist, I leave that to my very creative other half, for me its the exploring to find the driftwood that is half the fun. Beach cove wanderings bring with it a small pice of adventure and some outdoors time which is amazing. For those of you who adore the creating aspect like my girlfriend, then you will pleased to hear that there are 101 things you can do with the driftwood to make your home look a little more coastal and even get the kids involved for some beach time creativity.
Lamps are popular, mirrors and so are frames. In fact the majority of the items I see by artists seem to be frames. Little boats, fish, whales and small are also popular. See the pictures below. You could also incorporate some sea glass that you find into various mobiles and other hanging artworks. We will leave the topic of sea glass for the next blog, or see out previous blog on the topic here. Ether way you will find some seaglass in the same locations no doubt.
Below are some inspiring ideas to create your own driftwood art
Locations for finding drift wood on Anglesey
As previously mentioned how you want to begin your driftwood hunts, are look on the west coast. The predominant westerly winds bring most of the floatsome over on the west coasts on a big blow or storm. So locations to go looking at would be all the rocky coastlines around Porth daffarch, The Range and most of the small coves along Treaddur bay. Also Newborough beach, Aberfraw and Rhosneigr also. Long sweeping beaches will accumulate driftwood where the tides meet. Look for a reefs and small steep beaches that get strong tidal currents. Don’t look so much for big wide open expanses of sand, look for small bays and inlets.
Some books to inspire you for your driftwood art
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