A picture of a beautiful beach

Cornwall or Tyneside: Data reveals the cleanest beaches in England

Lizz Banks
Authored by Lizz Banks
Posted: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 20:50

With foreign travel just opening up and only a handful of countries making the green list, staycations are on the cards for a lot of Brits this summer. But not all holidays live up to expectations, and some coastal trips can be let down by smelly water, littered sand and run-down towns. With this in mind, SaveOnEnergy.com/uk set out to find Britain’s beaches with the cleanest, or filthiest, water. 

To do this, they investigated levels of faecal indicators (E. Coli (EC) and Intestinal Enterococci (IE)) in the ocean, as tested yearly by the government, to find which beaches are best for a paddle and which are best left alone. They analysed data from 546 beaches around England, Scotland and Wales, giving them a ranking from 0 (dirtiest) to 100 (cleanest). 

The cleanest beaches in England: 

  

Coastal Area 

Country 

District 

Score for E. coli (/50) 

Score for Intestinal enterococci (/50) 

Final Score (/100) 

#1 

Sharrow 

England 

Cornwall 

50 

50 

100 

#1 

Gyllyngvase 

England 

Cornwall 

50 

50 

100 

#2 

Gwynver 

England 

Cornwall 

50 

49.3 

99.3 

#2 

Fistral South 

England 

Cornwall 

50 

49.3 

99.3 

#3 

Booby's Bay 

England 

Cornwall 

49.3 

49.3 

98.6 

#4 

Poole Shore Road Beach 

England 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 

50 

48.3 

98.3 

#5 

Warkworth 

England 

Northumberland 

48 

50 

98 

 

SaveOnEnergy.com/uk can reveal that the cleanest beaches in England are Sharrow Beach and Gyllyngvase in Cornwall! The stunning beaches are the cleanest out of all 546 analysed, each scoring a full 50/50 points for having the lowest levels of E. Coli and Intestinal Enterococci, meaning they both finish with a perfect 100/100 for cleanliness. 

The second cleanest beaches in England are Gwynver Beach and Fistral South Beach, also in Cornwall. Both beaches finished with a final cleanliness score of 99.3/100. Both scored a full 50/50 points for the lowest levels of EC, and were just pipped to the post with their levels of IE which scored 49.3/50 each. 

In third is Booby’s Bay with a cleanliness score of 98.6/100. The bay received the same score for both EC and IE levels (49.3/50), and ranks fourth overall in Britain. 

The fourth cleanest beach in England is Poole Shore Road Beach with a cleanliness score of 98.3/100 (fifth in Britain), followed by Warkworth Beach with a score of 98/100 (sixth in Britain). 

 

The dirtiest beaches in England: 

  

Coastal Area 

Country 

District 

Score for E. coli (/50) 

Score for Intestinal enterococci (/50) 

Final Score (/100) 

#1 

Southwold The Denes 

England 

East Suffolk 

1.7 

1.8 

3.5 

#2 

Combe Martin 

England 

Combe Martin 

3.4 

0.3 

3.7 

#3 

Morecambe South 

England 

Lancaster 

2.0 

2.7 

4.7 

#4 

Heacham 

England 

King's Lynn and West Norfolk 

3.6 

1.3 

4.9 

#5 

Tynemouth Cullercoats 

England 

North Tyneside 

5.4 

0.2 

5.6 

 

SaveOnEnergy.com/uk found that the dirtiest beach in England is Southwold The Denes Beach in East Suffolk! With a final score of just 3.5 out of 100, and ranking 539th out of 546 in Britain, the beach may be best left avoided this summer. 

The second dirtiest beach in England is Combe Martin Beach. Receiving a cleanliness score of 3.7/100, the beach had higher levels of IE (0.3/100) than EC (3.4/100). It ranks 538th in Britain. 

In third place is Morecambe South Beach in Lancaster, with a final cleanliness score of 4.7/100. The beach has higher levels of E. Coli (2/50) than Intestinal Enterococci (2.7/50), and comes 535th in Britain’s rankings. 

Ranking fourth is Heacham Beach with a cleanliness score of 4.9/100 (533rd in Britain), followed by Tynemouth Cullercoats in fifth with a score of 5.6/100 (530th in Britain). 

 

The cleanest beaches in Britain: 

  

Coastal Area 

Country 

District 

Score for E. coli (/50) 

Score for Intestinal enterococci (/50) 

Final Score (/100) 

#1 

Sharrow 

England 

Cornwall 

50.0 

50.0 

100 

#1 

Gyllyngvase 

England 

Cornwall 

50.0 

50.0 

100 

#2 

Silver Bay Rhoscolyn 

Wales 

Isle of Anglesey 

49.5 

50.0 

99.5 

#3 

Gwynver 

England 

Cornwall 

50.0 

49.3 

99.3 

#3 

Fistral South 

England 

Cornwall 

50.0 

49.3 

99.3 

#4 

Booby's Bay 

England 

Cornwall 

49.3 

49.3 

98.6 

#5 

Poole Shore Road Beach 

England 

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole 

50.0 

48.3 

98.3 

 

The dirtiest beaches in Britain: 

  

Coastal Area 

Country 

District 

Score for E. coli (/50) 

Score for Intestinal enterococci (/50) 

Final Score (/100) 

#1 

Kinghorn (Harbour Beach) 

Scotland 

Fife 

0.1 

0.0 

0.1 

#2 

Heads of Ayr 

Scotland 

Strathclyde 

0.2 

0.1 

0.3 

#3 

Ayr (South Beach) 

Scotland 

Strathclyde 

0.0 

1.1 

1.1 

#4 

Fisherrow Sands 

Scotland 

East Lothian 

0.6 

0.7 

1.3 

#5 

Rhyl 

Wales 

Denbighshire 

1.0 

0.4 

1.4 

 

Please see SaveOnEnergy.com/uk’s blog post for more information on the British rankings: https://www.saveonenergy.com/uk/cleanest-and-dirtiest-beaches-in-uk/ 

Cover Photo by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash

 

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