Through The Ranger’s inbox this week came an appeal from a visitor to Southsea Beach, Hampshire. A gentleman was on the beach with his granddaughter when the young lady found a curious pebble.

This intriguing object was the cause of much electronic debate up and down the Solent, as it was passed around the Solent Forum. A mystery to be sure – a seemingly normal pebble bearing a stamped number. Eventually, some clever Solent Forumer unearthed a link to an arts project which started around about 1998 called One Million Pebbles. Artist Pete Codling undertook a city wide art project in Portsmouth, making clay pebbles with the public. They were personalised, number stamped and fired in a kiln. Then they were thrown into the sea at Southsea beach for others to find in the future… evidently that bit of it works. Pete Codling said on his website in 2005:

I have reached half a million so far.

It’s not clear whether or not Pete is still making the pebbles (he is – see below), but what a nice idea, and an interesting puzzle for a child on the beach, her grandfather, and a host of bored local government officers. Update: Pete Codling reads The Ranger’s Blog – see his comments below.

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  1. My 8 year old daughter just found one on Stokes Bay in Gosport! Number 200225. She’s very happy to have solved the mystery of where it came from.

  2. 2/5/2016,while walking on southsea beach with my daughter i found pebble number 014545 my daughter found it quit amazing and after googling it i found these comments a truly ingenious idea..

  3. Hello we found pebble number 382647 on Southsea beach today near the pyramid buildings. My son was happy with his find and what an amazing project we discovered when looked it up online.

  4. We have found two of the pebbles on Southsea beach in the last 18 months numbers 283028 and 301804. This was a great surprise as both my daughters and I were part of the project and we each made our own pebble. It would be good to find our own pebbles but as it was so long ago we can’t remember what design we did on them 🙂

  5. I have 2 pebbles on the beach about 18 months apart! Years ago. Couldnt find anything about them until now. 419086 and275619. Not sure about last stone is spotty and hard to read!