Cornish Beach awarded BROWN flag for dirtiness

It’s that time of year when you might be thinking about wild swimming spots in the South West, but unfortunately, we have had a bit of a sewage problem this year.

While beaches across the country are awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for their cleanliness, Holiday Park Guru coined the brown flag award for dirty beaches!

Of course, it’s not supposed to be serious – it’s a tongue-in-cheek award that it’s hopeful that the brown flag will motivate local councils to clean up their beaches!

Robbie Lane from Holiday Park Guru summarised the awards:

“We’re hoping to make a real splash in the papers with the launch of England’s first-ever ‘Brown Flag Awards’. Commiserations to our 13 winners this year – you really are top of the plops.

“We just hope they’ll take up our offer of a free brown flag, although I’m afraid we can’t quite afford to provide a flagpole as well.” On a more positive note, high praise is warranted for England’s 273 beaches with the top rating for their water quality – including 72 beaches in Cornwall”

Which beach has been given the brown flag?

Holiday Park Guru has analysed the water quality of hundreds of beaches to pinpoint the worst 13 in the country.

It uses data from 15th May to 30th September each year (as the water quality is typically lower int he winter months). Here’s how it gathered the data.

The brown flag winner in Cornwall was Porthluney Beach, near St Austell.

So, when you’re planning your summer swim, you might want to avoid Porthluney (there are recommendations for the cleanest beach in Cornwall and the South West at the bottom of this article!).

Where else has been awarded the brown flag?

Brown Flag Award 2024

Here’s the full list of where has been awarded the “brown flag”.

  1. Porthluney (Cornwall)
  2. Southsea East (Hampshire)
  3. Saint Mary’s Bay (Kent)
  4. Littlestone (Kent)
  5. Blackpool North (Lancashire)
  6. St Annes North (Lancashire)
  7. Heacham (Norfolk)
  8. Weston Super Mare (Somerset)
  9. Dunster Beach (Somerset)
  10. Bognor Regis (Sussex)
  11. Tynemouth Cullercoats (Tyne and Wear)
  12. Scarborough South Bay (North Yorkshire)
  13. Bridlington South Beach (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Robbie described “the ‘winners’ are being offered complimentary brown flags featuring a poo emoji to display for swimmers”. So, if you see one of these flying this summer, don’t get in the water!

Where is safe to swim in Cornwall?

Carbis Bay Cornwall England near St Ives and on the South West Coast Path with a sandy beach and blue sky on a beautiful sunny day

It’s not all bad news! Holiday Park Guru has analysed all the beaches across England’s coastal counties and assessed what percentage of beaches are rated “excellent”.

Here are the top ten counties with the percentage of “excellent” beaches.

  1. Dorset: 89%
  2. Devon: 86%
  3. Suffolk: 83%
  4. Cornwall: 81%
  5. Tyne and Wear: 78%
  6. Northumberland: 77%
  7. Lincolnshire: 77%
  8. Hampshire and New Forest: 75%
  9. Isle of Wight: 73%
  10. Merseyside: 57%

In fact, Treyarnon Bay on the North Coast of Cornwall has been rated the cleanest in the UK before!

In fact, Cornwall has 72 designated bathing beaches that are “excellent”, which is more than any other English county by total number (this is largely because there are many more beaches in Cornwall than other counties – here are some of the best).

Here are Cornwall’s blue flag beaches, which are generally clean and safe for swimming.

  • Portreath Beach
  • Widemouth Bay
  • Trevone Bay
  • Porthtowan Beach
  • Polzeath Beach
  • Gyllyngvase Beach
  • Crooklets Beach
  • Carbis Bay

These beaches meet high standards for water quality, safety and environmental management.

Busy Gyllyngvase beach, Cornwall, UK in summer

Swim safely in Cornwall!

So, now you know where to swim in Cornwall this summer – and where to avoid!

Take a look at some of my Cornwall posts for more information:

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