Spirit of the South: From cosmetics to ice cream - exploring Kent's seaweed coastline

There is more chalk coastline in Kent than anywhere else in the country Credit: ITV Meridian
  • Watch Tony Green's full report below

The coastline of Kent stretches for 369 miles.

There is more chalk coastline in the county than anywhere else in the country.

The largest stretch is 250 hectares in Thanet, from Pegwell Bay in the south to Birchington.

This chalk reef makes the perfect environment for seaweed to thrive.

There are more than 100 varieties of seaweed found on Kent's shoreline.

Some were used to treat ailments, like the pink tufted weed.

At the time, it was believed that if you crushed it up into a powder it could help cure you of worms.

Another is alginate, which comes from kelp seaweed, which is used in cosmetics and as a stabilising agent in ice cream.

Around 400 years ago, it was collected in Margate and exported to the Netherlands to glaze pottery.

Thanet Council clears up to 7,000 tonnes of seaweed from beaches every year, despite many who believe we should nurture it.

Interviewees: Ian Tittley, seaweed expert and Dom Bridges, business owner