For much of the past year, beaches in Spain, Greece and other foreign destinations have been inaccessible.
But adventurous British families have found unlikely places closer to home to explore in the great outdoors.
The lockdown has seen a surge in the number of people on the prowl – scouring the tidal flats of rivers and our own beaches in search of long-buried treasure and knick-knacks.
With limited travel options and for long stretches of the past 12 months, with families limited to their immediate neighborhood, people have “explored an entirely new world” closer to home.
Along the tidal Thames from Teddington to the estuary, hundreds of more people began mudlarking, while others began wandering the foreshore at low tide to spot signs of wildlife .
And while they may not always find anything of value, its advocates claim that taking a stroll on the beach and walking in the mud gives a huge boost to our mental well-being in times of stress.
Simon Clarke, director of the Thames Explorer Trust, says he has noticed a renewed interest in mudlarking and general exploration of the river.
“There was a huge increase in the number of people descending to the foreshore during the lockdown. People are bored, cramped and looking for adventure. It adds to what was already a growing interest in archeology and heritage.
“People hope they find gold coins and antiques, but the real value lies in establishing a close connection with the river and its immediate natural surroundings.”