Sand sensation: Sand mural artist Marc Treanor creates beautifully intricate circles on Welsh beaches. They're inspired by crop circles, the mysterious formations found in corn and wheat fields.
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Family affair: Treanor tells CNN Travel he started the project when he was on vacation in Cornwall, southwestern England, with his kids. They created a six petaled flower. "We ran to the the top of the cliffs to look down and thought 'Ooh that's nice,'" recalls Treanor. "And that was the beginning really. Pictured here: Sand art at Caerfai Bay, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Three step process: So what's the process for creating these incredible pieces of art? Treanor says there are three key steps. Phase 1: sketching out the pattern at home, on paper. Pictured here: Drawing at Pwllgwaelod beach, Pembrokeshire
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Raking in: Step two is getting down to the beach and creating the art with a rake. It can be quite intimidating, says Treanor. "Many times I'm just looking at the beach thinking 'I don't know where I am, I don't know I'm doing,'" he says. Pictured here: Chartres Labyrinth mural, Mwnt beach, Ceredigion, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Reflection: When the raking's complete, it's time for the most magical part: "This is the sort of contemplative side, so ideally there's a nice viewpoint and whoever's been involved, we can all go up to the clifftop and gaze down upon the beach and watch the creation being reabsorbed by the sea," says Treanor. Pictured here: Goddess mural, Traeth Llyfn, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Temporary creation: Treanor says he's not sad when he sees the water wash away his work, it's part of the cycle. "It's completely part of it, it's totally integral to the work and the fact it is impermanent and it is temporary," he says. Pictured here: Sand art close-up, Caerfai, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Nature wins: That said, Treanor does try and photograph his art before it disappears -- however one time, he forgot his camera and his phone. "Actually it was quite nice just to let go of that need to preserve it and just let it exist for whatever time it exists for in real time," he says. Pictured here: Sand art design by Steve C Richards, Tenby North beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Forging connections: One of Treanor's most memorable creations was this intricate symbol created on the day of the UK General Election in 2015. A passerby helped him out and they shared a bond despite ideological differences. Pictured here: Sand art at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Ceding control: Other beach-goers often help out the sand muralist. "I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it can be very easy to try and push people away, because they're not going to do it how you want it to be done," admits Treanor. Pictured here: Skull art at Mwnt in south Ceredigion, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Fulfilling experience: But Treanor knows it's more fulfilling when other people are involved. He was recently approached by a group of kids. "I had to try to find a way of them being involved and we did it [...] and it was really great," he says. Pictured here: Traeth Llyfn beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
New direction: Treanor no longer limits his art to replicating crop circles. Now he takes commissions and even replicates profiles, as seen here. Pictured here: "Jessie" at Newport Sands, Pembrokeshire
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Growing prestige: "It's just leading me in such interesting directions, I mean this year's been crazy busy, I've had twelve commissions," he says. Pictured here: Hexagon art, Whitesands beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Environmental angle: "This year I've worked with local councils here improving their tourism push, and I've worked for the European Environment Bureau, along with three other sand artists in Europe actually, and we all did this piece to do with bringing awareness to plastic pollution in the oceans," says Treanor. Pictured here: Sand art, European Environment Bureau, Saunton Sands, North Devon
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Showcasing beauty: Treanor is also proud that his work showcases the beauty of the Welsh coast. "The beaches are exquisite, when the weather's right, or even when the weather's not, it has a different energy when there's a storm raging and the waves are pounding, it's so exciting," he says. Pictured here: "Lily" at Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Heading abroad: As the winter approaches, Treanor says he would love to explore some beaches abroad. "It would be really interesting to take this a bit further afield," he says. Pictured here: Proposal art, Mwnt Beach, Cardigan Bay, West Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Best Beaches

The story behind these mysterious sand murals on Britain's beaches

(CNN) — If you've been frequenting the sandy beaches along the rugged, Welsh Pembrokeshire Coast in Britain, you might have noticed some mysterious shapes appearing in the sand.
These intricate murals are beach-based works of art created by local sand muralist Marc Treanor.
Inspired by crop circles, the enigmatic formations that occasionally appear in corn and wheat fields, Treanor forges stunningly intricate patterns and pictures by raking wet sand.
When he's done, Treanor watches as his hard work is consumed by the crashing waves, but he says that's all part of the experience.
"It's completely part of it, it's totally integral to the work and the fact it is impermanent and it is temporary," Treanor tells CNN Travel.
That said, he usually has chance to capture his creations on camera for posterity.

Three stage process

Hexagon art, Whitesands beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
Treanor says there are three key steps to creating the perfect sand mural.
Phase 1: sketching out the pattern at home, on paper.
Phase 2: Heading down to the beach, rake in hand, and getting started on the creation process.
That can be quite intimidating, he says.
"Many times I'm just looking at the beach thinking 'I don't know where I am, I don't know I'm doing,'" he laughs. But once he's got over that hurdle, he starts digging and creating the mural.
When the raking's complete, it's time for the most magical part, phase 3:
Sand art at Traeth Llyfn beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
"This is the sort of contemplative side, so ideally there's a nice viewpoint and whoever's been involved, we can all go up to the clifftop and gaze down upon the beach and watch the creation being reabsorbed by the sea," says Treanor.
From one of Pembrokeshire's striking clifftops, Treanor and his team -- sometimes friends, sometimes strangers who've just happened to pass by -- watch as the art disappears.
Sometimes he doesn't even manage to photograph the mural -- one time, he realized too late he'd forgotten both his camera and his cell phone.
He let this realization wash over him.
"Actually it was quite nice just to let go of that need to preserve it and just let it exist for whatever time it exists for in real time," he says.

Forging connections

Creating the artwork with strangers is a bonding exercise. Pictured here: Chartres Labyrinth mural, Mwnt beach, Ceredigion, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
One of Treanor's most memorable creations was an intricate symbol created on the day of the UK General Election in 2015. A passerby helped him out and they shared a bond across political and ideological divisions.
Treanor and his friend were struggling to create the complex mural alone, when a stranger offered to help them. They started chatting as they raked -- and the newcomer said he worked as a bombmaker. Treanor couldn't hide his disapproval, but the group still worked together to create the resulting sand art.
"Then we finished the design and went up to the promenade in Tenby and looked down on it," recalls Treanor. "This guy was quite taken, you could tell that he was quite moved."
"We left him there, sitting, and me and my friend went to have some dinner, and about an hour and a half later we came out and he was still there, gazing down at the beach, by which stage the design had nearly gone. And I looked at my friend and I said 'I think his bomb-making days might be over.'"
Treanor created this artwork on Election Day in Britain in 2015 in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Courtesy Marc Treanor
It's these unexpected encounters with others and unlikely connections that defines Treanor's work. You might think this work would be an isolated exercise, but in fact it's usually far from it.
"I'm a bit of a perfectionist and it can be very easy to try and push people away, because they're not going to do it how you want it to be done," admits Treanor.
But the sand artist says it really is more fulfilling when other people are involved too.
He recalls a recent moment when he was approached by a group of kids who wanted to help out.
"I had to try to find a way of them being involved and we did it [...] and it was really great," he says.

New frontiers

"Jessie" created on Newport Sands, Pembrokeshire
Courtesy Marc Treanor
As Treanor's art continues to appear up and down the Welsh coast, he's finding he's increasingly being noticed and commissioned to do some exciting, different projects.
He's managed to recreate people's likeness in a couple of instances, he's been employed by local tourist agencies and he's even helped instigate a wedding proposal.
"It's just leading me in such interesting directions, I mean this year's been crazy busy, I've had twelve commissions," he says.
In the past, his jobs have included long distance lorry driving, gardening and selling medical equipment -- not to mention bringing up his children -- but now his sand art is turning into an unlikely full-time career.
Sand art close-up, Caerfai, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Courtesy Marc Treanor
"This year I've worked with local councils here improving their tourism push, and I've worked for the European Environment Bureau, along with three other sand artists in Europe actually, and we all did this piece to do with bringing awareness to plastic pollution in the oceans," says Treanor -- who created a dramatic Poseidon rising from the ocean throwing a plastic bottle back to the land.
People living elsewhere might not realize there are sandy beaches scattered across, Britain -- it's not all shingle and rocks.
Nevertheless, as the seasons change as the weather worsens, the sand muralist is considering taking his artwork to beaches overseas.
"In the winter time I would love to start to travel a bit more and to work on beaches in warmer climates, or just in different countries, it would be really interesting to take this a bit further afield," he says.
He's daydreaming about sand in South Africa, the US west coast or Thailand -- but he's still got a soft spot for Wales.
Treanor is proud that his work helps to showcase the beauty of the Welsh coast -- and maybe even attract more people to visit this shoreline.
"The beaches are exquisite, when the weather's right, or even when the weather's not, it has a different energy when there's a storm raging and the waves are pounding, it's so exciting," he says.
Read more
More from CNN Travel