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.
Project partners & funding
Based on the Fylde coast, The Fylde Sand Dunes Project is a partnership between Fylde Council, Blackpool Council and The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside. The project is currently exclusively funded by The Environment Agency until 2022.
Habitats and wildife
There are over 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 over 150 species of butterflies and moths recorded. The Fylde dunes are also home to breeding birds including stonechats, skylarks and reed buntings.
The dunes are not only important for wildlife and recreation, they are also crucial for their flood defence properties. The dunes act as a natural barrier to the sea at high tide, and release sand during storm conditions to reduce wave action. The aims of the Fylde Sand Dunes Project feed in to the Environment Agency's Shoreline Management Plan (SMP2); a non-statutory, high level policy document for coastal flooding and erosion risk management planning.
The project carries out regular practical conservation methods on the dunes which includes:
- Controlling invasive non-native species (INNS)
- Repairing the dunes by thatching and filling blow-outs (weak spots in the dunes)
- Developing pathways to create recognisable access points and reduce damaging dune erosion
- Creating dune slacks to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife
- Erecting posts, chestnut paling fencing, and burying recycled Christmas trees on the foreshore to trap wind-blown sand and create new embryo dunes.
- Planting dune grasses to anchor sand particles so sand is not blown away from the dune system
Christmas tree planting
Each new year, we recycle old Christmas trees to provide improved coastal defence against sand and sea for residents of Lytham, St Anne’s and Blackpool. The Christmas trees play a vital role as the branches and pines from the trees stick out of the beach towards the prevailing wind direction and trap sand particles as they drift ashore, helping sand to accumulate and eventually build new embryo dunes.
The trees are donated to various 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. Look out for the event in our events section.
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:
For more information about our outreach programme please get in touch via email.
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
For information about volunteering with this project, please contact:
T: 01772 318 374