Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Cornwall Big Paint In - on a beach!

On 13th August, a lot of plein air painters are planning to be painting on a beach in Cornwall.


Painter Paul Wadsworth was minding his own business and painting with a small group on a local beach in Cornwall when he was challenged as to whether he had permission to paint on the beach!

He was told he would need to write to a local committee to get permission.  The rationale used was that if everyone wanted to paint on a beach where would that leave everybody else?  Chaos?

I'm assuming the individual concerned had not heard of the concept of public open space and public rights of way/access!

The Cornwall Big Paint In - 13th August 2011

Porthtowan Beach - the darker area is the foreshore

The idea of the Cornwall Big Paint In is that it will
  • enable people to come and create on a beach 
  • challenge the notion that there are rules which prevent you from doing this
  • reinforce the view that you can gather in a public open space for social interaction - just like families and friends do when they come down to a beach and set up various bits of kits for their personal enjoyment.
The other reason for doing it is to try and create an amazing day for plein air painters and a chance of like minded artistic souls to gather and create in Cornwall!

The paint-in will be followed by a BBQ - so it's suggested those wanting to attend should also bring food, wine and musical instruments.

Thought is being given to creating an exhibition from the event and to also making it an annual event - depending on the response on 13th August.

Artists planning to attend include Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes), Miles Heseltine, Andrew Tozer and Glyn Macy

How to get to "the beach" 

The venue has not yet been announced.

This is 

The aim is to avoid overwhelming "the beach" with artists' cars!  Arrangements have been made for a shuttle bus down to the beach to avoid any access and car parking problems.

Consequently, the place you should actually head towards - if coming by car - is Mount Pleasant Ecological Park, Chapel Hill, Porthtowan, Cornwall TR4. Parking is free at the Eco Park.  See directions re access on instructions page.

The event is free but donations towards the cost of the shuttle bus will be gratefully received.  This will go towards paying for the bus with the balance going towards a charity.

Any queries contact Paul Wadsworth | |  07814897447

Who Owns the Beaches - and Rights of Access

Note: This is what I found out about the right of access to beaches in general terms.
We also own around half of the foreshore, the area between mean high and mean low water (spring tides in Scotland) and approximately half of the beds of estuaries and tidal rivers in the United Kingdom.
Crown Estate - Marine 
  1. The area above the high water mark belongs to whoever owns the adjacent land. 
    1. If this is a public road then the land is in public ownership.
    2. There are some private beaches in the UK.
  2. The area between the high water mark and the low water mark always belongs to the Crown Estate - no matter where it is.  I gather the Queen doesn't object to people roaming over her land.  (they also own the seabed up to 12 miles out from the coastline)
  3. The National Trust and English Heritage own some beaches (eg Studland Beach & Nature Reserve; Dunwich Heath: Coastal Centre & Beach) - with a view to protecting them for us all to enjoy. Beach walks with your dog! lists the access to different beaches - including beaches in Cornwall - for the purposes of walking a dog and the simple guidelines dog owners are asked to keep to.  (Note - no notice or written permission required!)
  4. Public rights of access are safeguarded through a comprehensive body of legislation on public rights of way. Primarily, these are: 
  • The Highways Act 1980 (the 1980 Act); 
  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (the 1981 Act); 
  • The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (the CROW Act); and
  • the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (the NERC Act). 
  • The right of access to open country and registered common land is provided for under the CROW Act. 
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (the MCA Act) includes provisions for improving public access to the English coast and sets out the right for the public to access the coastline.  At present some 30% is off limits to the public and access of often poor to the remaining 70%.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 enables the creation of a continuous signed and managed route around the coast plus areas of spreading room, for example beaches, dunes and cliffs, where it is appropriate to do so.  


  1. What a great idea!

  2. This sounds like a great idea and I wish I could join in.

  3. Oh yes, I'd be there in a heartbeat if I lived anywhere close. Perhaps the world should join in and go paint on a beach on that day.

  4. Need permission to paint on a beach??!! What a sad world.

    FWIW, painting is not listed amongst the excluded activities Scotland's Countryside Code...

  5. Clearly painting is a dangerous activity.

    Are we forgetting that in earlier centuries military officers were trained in watercolour painting as an essentail reconaissance tool? Or that Leonardo depicted fortifications?

    So what is so sensitive at this beach that it needs to be protected from the prying eyes of artists? We need to find out.

    The Nazis actually banned people from painting, such as the painter Emile Nolde, who depicted the dangerous sea.


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