Fylde Sand Dunes Project

Fylde Sand Dunes Project

Over the past 150 years, more than 80% of the sand dunes in Lancashire have been lost

The Fylde Sand Dunes Project is a partnership between The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, Fylde Council and Blackpool Council, currently exclusively funded by The Environment Agency until 2022. This project works hard to encourage visitors to the dunes in a way which does not further threaten their existence, whilst letting people know all about the amazing wildlife that lives in this special place.

We are also working to improve the dunes as a sea defence feature; increasing their width by encouraging natural dune growth on the foreshore. The dunes act as a natural barrier to the sea at high tide, and release sand during storm conditions to reduce wave action. 

With the help of volunteers and the local community, the Dunes Project aims to make the dunes a better place for both wildlife and people.

Living Seas North West

Habitats and wildife

The range of conditions in a sand dune habitat support a surprisingly rich variety of plants and animals that are well-adapted to their environment.

There are more than 280 vascular plant species recorded on the Fylde sand dunes, including several internationally rare plants which are endemic to sand dunes in the UK, including the interestingly named Isle of Man cabbage.

Insects are numerous and varied in the dunes, with more than 150 species of butterflies and moths recorded. The Fylde dunes are also home to breeding birds including stonechats, skylarks and reed buntings. 

sand dunes wildlife

Practical conservation

The project carries out regular practical conservation activity on the dunes which includes:

  • Controlling invasive non-native species.
  • Repairing the dunes by thatching and filling blow-outs to reduce sand loss from the system.
  • Developing pathways to create recognisable access points and reduce dune erosion.
  • Creating dune slacks to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife.
  • Planting dune grasses and using chestnut paling and other natural materials to trap wind-blown sand and create new dunes on the foreshore.
sand dune volunteers

Community engagement and education

We want to encourage both visitors and residents to feel a sense of ownership of their local coastline. The project offers an outreach programme delivering public engagement and education in the form of:

  • Talks and presentations.
  • Helping students to achieve the conservation aspect of the John Muir Award.
  • Delivering a wide range of coastal events including beached art competitions, mini-beast hunting, mud dipping, beach bonanzas, sand dune safaris and many more!
  • Guided walks.
  • Beach School.

For more information about our outreach programme please get in touch via email.

marine engagement

Christmas tree planting

Each new year, we use old Christmas trees to provide a defence against sand and sea for residents of Lytham and St Anne’s. The Christmas trees play a vital role as the branches and pines from the trees stick out of the beach and trap sand particles as they drift ashore, helping sand to accumulate and eventually build new dunes.

The trees are donated to drop off points along the Fylde coast and are then used to create sand dunes on the foreshore of the local beaches. The annual Christmas tree planting event occurs every year, and is usually a three-day event taking place at the beginning of February.

Watch the video below about our tree planting event in 2017, published by That's Lancashire.

That's Lancashire, 8th Feb 2017.

sand dunes walk

Get involved

We hold regular volunteer work parties tackling everything from scrub removal to litter picks - there's something for everyone to get involved with!

We also run a series of free guided walks around the Fylde Sand Dunes. We're relaunching these for 2021 but dates may change depending on current COVID-19 restrictions. Do check our Facebook page for updates.

Sunday 1 August: 11am - 1pm
Sunday 5 September: 10am - 12pm
Sunday 3 October: 10am - 12pm
Sunday 7 November: 10am - 12pm
Sunday 5 December: 10am - 12pm

Contact us

For information about volunteering with this project, please contact:

Catherine Haddon
T: 01772 318 374
E: chaddon@lancswt.org.uk

sand dunes funder logos