Shopping trolleys, traffic cones and old tyres were commonly found during the Big Paddle Cleanup. But what about the more unusual finds in our rivers and canals?
British Canoeing members and the rest of the paddling community have pulled all sorts of unexpected items out of the country’s waterways, including:
A unicorn, plastic stools, underwear, pallets, deflated footballs, a Fanta can from the 1980s, roadworks barriers, cash register, wheelbarrow, rubber ducks, skateboards, a Playstation and a dead parrot.
The strange finds were revealed by the Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign after two weeks of action to record and remove what had been found in the country’s canals and rivers.
Reported finds also included:
Enough clothes and underwear to have the full outfit.
A lost cygnet (reunited with its mother)
A pair of trainers
Part of a wooden landing ladder
A wheeled plastic tray
Golf balls... miles from a golf course!
Dog poo bags
Kitchen plates and part of a fence
Road work traffic sign holders
Rotting bag of chicken pieces and floating cushion
A yellow hook duck
Deflated large rubber ting
A pair of padded bra inserts
Very large plant pot
A closed suitcase
An electric iron!
Cash register tray with 5p left in it
Baby car seat
Half full tub of butter
Insulin container with measuring scale (half full)
Heavy iron woodstove
2 tubs of dairy free spread.
Child’s car seat
Bag of human poo
Builder's helmet (containing lots of interesting bugs)
Yellow pipe insulation
Child’s baseball bat
Large doll’s head
A deflated inflated ring
Electrical insulation unit from overhead power cables
A suicidal pigeon…
ERDINGER Alkoholfrei, one of British Canoeing’s commercial partners, support the Big Paddle Cleanup.
By logging your paddle cleanup you will go into a monthly draw to win ERDINGER Alkoholfrei prizes.
Pembrokeshire Paddlers have won the latest prize. The 13 volunteers did their cleanup at Lindsway Bay and filled three large sacks.
Their most surprising find were large blocks of yellow insulation foam.
Chantelle Grundy, Access and Environment Lead, said: “We’re always surprised and often bemused by what is found during the Big Paddle Cleanup.
"However, the junk which is ending up in our waterways is causing untold damage to wildlife and its great to be part of a community taking positive action to make a real difference."
The Big Paddle Cleanup 2023 saw an incredible effort from our fantastic community of paddlers.
More than 2,000 volunteers participated and over 1,300 big sacks were filled.
Inside those bags were more than 5,000 plastic bottles, 1,458 glass bottles, 2,866 cans and 6,258 food wrappers.
Please continue to log your paddle cleanups with us throughout the year so we can highlight the scale of the issue to encourage change.
You will also be in with a chance of winning a spot prize thanks to Erdinger Alkoholfrei.
We have distributed 600 paddle cleanup kits throughout the paddling community, thanks to funds from British Canoeing's Go Green membership.