Actor and WWF ambassador MIRANDA RICHARDSON describes the various coastlines around the UK that have made a lasting impression, and the importance of living sustainably. Interview: Alex Reece

I have more than one favourite stretch of coast – and the list will never be done. If I start with Cornwall, which is where I used to go as a kid, that was my first introduction to a really dramatic landscape and a microcosm of the natural world.

When I was five, on a brilliant sunny day, we’d just had a picnic and we walked on this area called The Rumps near Padstow. As we walked, the place was alive with butterflies and caterpillars – there was even an emerging butterfly – and it was my first feeling of the earth being full of life in a very real, tangible way.

I also have associations with Dorset, because I used to have a house in Somerset and that was my nearest bit of coastline. West Bay has wonderful shingle, a sandstone bluff and great walks along the top. Even on a mad rainy day, it was terribly exciting to go there.

Then in North Devon – at Woody Bay – I had one of the most amazing walks in my life there. Me and a friend and my then dog walked for 26 miles along that stretch on one of the most beautiful days of the year, without really eating or even drinking – we didn’t seem to need anything.

Another perfect day was when I was doing a job up on the North Norfolk coastline, during some time off – again with my dog and a friend. I remember on Holkham Beach, we swam in the sea, and terns were diving around me as we were swimming.

What does my role at the WWF mean to me? Saving species. We’ve snagged so much of the planet and we’re so wasteful, we have to concentrate on saving other species to save us. Bees and trees – we can’t live without them.

We’ve got to be open to this: looking for anything that has FSC labelling or is recycled. I think our supermarkets have to get real about bigging up the sustainable aspects of the weekly shop, and that we need less than we think of all sorts of things. We all have to do our bit and take part.

Miranda Richardson is a WWF ambassador supporting the Save Forests campaign:

Find out more about celebrities that love the coast here. Or keep up to date with 'My Coast' features in the magazine.

Find out more about celebrities that love the coast here. Or keep up to date with 'My Coast' features in the magazine.