Freaky 10ft-wall of foam like 'solid washing up liquid' bubbles down Burnley stream

Mark spotted the foam on a regular walk
Mark spotted the foam on a regular walk -Credit:Mark Rawlinson

A mysterious 'foam' was found in a woodland area in Burnley last week - but it quickly disappeared before experts could take a look.

Mark Rawlinson, 62, found the 'clumps' during a walk last week (May 8) at Sweet Clough in the town. He says he heard about "some bubbles" that looked like solid "washing-up liquid" had been formed in a stream.

Mark told LancsLive: "I had heard about some bubbles on Sweet Clough an area I walk a lot, so when it got sunnier I took my camera and went to look. The wall of foam was over 10 feet high and looked amazing.


"Then it struck me what sort of damage this could have done to wildlife there."

Before Mark made the discovery at around 1pm, the Environment Agency (EA) had already been informed. A spokesperson said they took "immediate action" but the majority of the foam had "dissipated" once they arrived.

Mark says the foam looked like washing-up liquid
Mark says the foam looked like washing-up liquid -Credit:Mark Rawlinson

Fortunately, the EA understand the foam has had no environmental impact.

"The largest part I saw was in a weir at that part of Greenbrook stream," Mark added. "I imagined it was children messing about but didn't know - the weir is quite rapid there."

The mysterious find is known as sea foam and can be exacerbated by algal bloom. Bristol Avon Rivers Trust say it's a "natural phenomenon that occurs on many rivers and streams."

It's produced when molecules act as ‘surfactants’, interfering with the surface tension of water and allowing air and water to mix more easily.

An Environment Agency Spokesperson said: "We took immediate action as soon as we received a report of potential pollution in Sweet Clough, Burnley, however our site controller found that the majority of the foam had dissipated and that there were no environmental impacts.

"We would urge members of the public to report any signs of pollution to our hotline on 0800 807060."