Well our trip to Seaham, England didn’t turn out quite as expected. We found very little glass there this fall. We were there at the end of October, 2019. There were lots of people, but very little glass. We thought the east wind and storm that rolled in would help, but there was almost nothing. The first few days there were some rocks on the beach…meaning sea glass should be plentiful, but a few days later they were almost all gone, leaving nothing but sandy beaches and no sea glass.
The Old Londonberry Bottleworks Factory
What makes Seaham Beach such a mecca for sea glass hunters? There was an old glass factory here called The Londonderry Bottleworks, which operated from the 1850s to 1921. At the end of each day, their waste and leftover glass was dumped over the cliff edge into the sea, where it sat for hundreds of years getting tumbled in the ocean. The result…beautifully frosted, rounded sea glass washing up on the beach.
You will find more multis, striped and rare colors there than almost anywhere else in the world.
Each morning, we would set out around 6:30am before dawn and walk the mile to the main beach. We were usually the first ones there after the night time high tide, so it wasn’t a matter of others getting their first, there was just so little there! We did find a few nice pieces, but nothing compared to the previous year (also in the fall).
Sea Glass Hunting on Blast Beach in Seaham
This year we looked at not only the main beach, but also at Blast Beach. That beach is very difficult to access, and just a few days after we left, a woman fell to the bottom and had to be airlifted out by the Coast Guard. The helicopter landed on the beach! It’s a treacherous ravine that you have to walk down and if it has been raining, the footing is very unsure and slippery, so please BE CAREFUL is you choose to go to that beach.
Blast Beach, just south of Seaham Beach
The glass on Blast Beach is quite different than on Seaham Beach. Blast Beach is where you will mostly find teal and light green bubbles and bottle stoppers, like the ones I found pictured below. We ran into some locals who explained that the glass there was mostly from the miners throwing their bottles into the sea. The rocks there are all kind of reddish because it came from the north and was used as ballast for the mining ships. It was then dumped on the beach where their cargo was loaded. The sand is also blacker and smoother than on Seaham Beach. It is well worth the visit if you can make the climb down. It is not recommended for anyone with trouble walking or balancing, especially after the rain.
So we enjoyed our stay there, but after five days, decided to try Spain instead. The next blog describes our travels to Spain and the incredible amount of glass we found there!