Have you ever been to the beach and stopped to wonder why so many people are walking slowly, head bowed, scouring the sand below them? Chances are, they are looking for sea glass! With hundreds of beaches, Cornwall is a sea glass hunter’s paradise! Sea glass can be found in any location that is either tidal, or has wave action. Keep your eyes peeled to the shore and see what treasures you can find whilst beachcombing in Cornwall. Reveal what colour glass can be found, where it originates and some of our favourite spots for sea glass hunting!
Sea glass is a part man-made and part natural creation. Glass that has made its way into the sea weathers and breaks down, forming beautiful pebble-like shapes. Fully formed sea glass is smooth and frosted. This is from the combination of salty sea water, rough sand and rocks. Most sea glass comes from glass bottles that have found their way into the sea. Sea glass can be formed from drinks bottles, medicine bottles and any other glass that ends up in the ocean. It can take any time from 5 to 50 years to form into the typical frosted sea glass shape.
Sea glass comes in a wide variety of colours! The colour of the glass depends on the colour of the original source. The most common sea glass colours that can be found are green, brown and clear glass. These are the most common colours due to the popularity of clear, green and brown glass in modern day use. More rare colours that can be found include a variety of blues, purples and even oranges. The most rare colour to find is turquoise. This colour can be very hard to find, with its main origin coming from medicine bottles. Red and orange coloured sea glass is also extremely rare to find. This is because glass of these colours is difficult to make, often using particles of gold to form the deep shades.
Marazion Beach, located in Mount’s Bay near Penzance, is a great beach for finding sea glass. You can find lots of beautiful sea glass pebbles in this area, particularly to the left of the beach, by the rockpools. Sea glass often gets washed ashore on Marazion Beach, along with beautiful shells. If you look closely, you can find a wide variety of coloured sea glass here! The pieces can be very small, but blue, purple and light green sea glass can be found here.
St Ives Harbour is great for beach combing!. As the tide goes out, see what treasures you can find by combing the beach. Quite often, sea glass can be found in the harbour, twinkling as it reflects off the basking sun. The most common coloured glass found here are green and clear pieces.
Towan Beach, located in Newquay, is a haven for sea glass hunting. Sea glass is often washed up on the shore and by the rockpools around the Island House. Large pieces of sea glass, as well as pretty shells, can be found here. At low tide, venture to the right side of the beach, towards Great Western Beach. See what freshly-churned ocean treasures you can find along the beach, which is completely covered by sea at high tide!
Maenporth beach is approximately 3 miles south-west from Falmouth. It’s a great beach for finding hidden gems, like sea glass! The beach is sheltered and expands at low tide, exposing rockpools that are great to explore! Sift through the soft sand and see if you can find any sea glass.
Portreath Beach is located on the North Cornish coast. It’s a relatively small beach at high tide. As the tide drops, see if you can find any sea glass treasures. They’re often nestled between pebbles that have been washed in with the waves! Quite often, you will see beach goers at Portreath hunting for sea glass all across the beach. There’s plenty to be found!
Visit Perranporth Beach at low tide and be amazed at how much sea glass you can find! The beach stretches out 2 miles at low tide. It’s perfect for sea glass hunting as you walk along the vast beach! Sift through the golden sand and see what discarded treasures you may find.
Where are your favourite spots to find sea glass in Cornwall? We'd love to know!