Sands of Life Update

The Trust and Reserve are delighted to be part of a Nationwide project to reinstate and preserve Dune Landscapes.

Laura Bowen , Sands of LIFE Project and Monitoring Officer South has kindly summarised the work completed so far and outlined some of the work to come.

February 2020

Scrub Clearance – removal of 3.2ha of mixed species including willow and hawthorn. Stumps cut low to ground, stems chipped and removed off site and taken to a local biomass plant.

February 2021

  • Dune slack scrape – shallow scrape (20cm) around the edge of the Horseshoe slack to remove vegetation and restore the original shape with the aim to rejuvenate the slack and enhance the habitat.
  • Scrub clearance – removal of 1.6ha of semi-mature birch and willow scrub by cutting trees low to the ground and following up with stump treatment to revitalise dune grassland which is being smothered by encroaching scrub. It is important to note that there is will be follow-up works in Autumn 21 to cut any stumps which were left high due to water level lower to the ground with hand tools.

Upcoming Planned Sands of LIFE works (dates are indicative):

August/September 2021

  • Mowing – 13.5ha of dune grassland and dune slacks to be mowed. Arisings will be raked and piled in piles in suitable areas on site. Mowing will directly benefit fen orchids and other important species.
  • Dune slack scrape – shallow scrape (20cm) of the Birch slack to remove vegetation which is smothering low lying specialised species. The aim is to rejuvenate the slack and enhance the habitat.

November 2021 onwards

  • Scrub clearance – removal of scattered scrub which is encroaching further onto dune grassland and dune slack habitat.
  • Frontal Dune Notches – two frontal dune notches to be created which will allow sand to move into the system creating ‘sand rain’ effect which will help de-acidify the soil pH and allow specialised plants to thrive.
  • Re-profiling works – Turf stripping relic blowouts within the fixed dune grassland. This will increase areas of bare sand for open dune species and promotes sand movement.

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