Professor Matthew Bennett shares top tips for building perfect sandcastle

With the sun shining and Bournemouth’s beaches filled with excited holiday goers, BU’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Matthew Bennett has been sharing his top tips for building the perfect sandcastle.

Also known as ‘Professor Sandcastle’, following his research into the science behind sandcastles and which beaches are best, Professor Bennett was interviewed on BBC Radio Newcastle and wrote a piece for the Sunday Times.

He told BBC Radio Newcastle Drivetime presenter Anne Leuchars that the mix of sand and water was crucial when building a sandcastle, with eight buckets of sand to one of water being the ideal.

“If you’ve got too much then the grains are lubricated and move past one another and don’t lock together, but if you don’t have any water in there, there’s nothing to bind them together.” he said.

“With just the right amount of water, they stick together.”

Other tips included sticking to a simple bucket and spade, as they are the “most versatile, you can create almost anything you want,” and creating a mound of sand and sculpting from that, instead of using buckets of sand as ‘bricks’.

He added that sandcastles were a fun and accessible way to get people of all ages interested and engaged with science.

“Whatever vehicle you use, communicating the passion and the enthusiasm for science is really important, and sandcastles allow you to do that.

“Understanding where the sand came from, it holds a story about our planet and the history of our planet. It’s just lovely, it’s a really fun thing to do.”

Professor Bennett also gave his top tips on local radio station Fire FM and wrote 7 Golden Rules for building the perfect sandcastle in the Sunday Times.

They included the location of the sandcastle – sand on some beaches are better for sandcastle building than others, with Torquay coming out on top in Professor Bennett’s research, and Bournemouth in third place.

He also advised that people should ‘think big’ when it comes to building their perfect sandcastle.

“Size matters in the game of sandcastles,” he wrote.

“A modest pile with perfect towers, battlements and moat is OK, but the huge redoubts that break the beach horizon are what inspire awe and wonder.

“Pebbles, shells, driftwood fragments and feathers all enhance the look – and, let’s face it, a castle should always be built to be seen.”

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio Newcastle