New Bill Oddie audio-guided nature trail at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR uses recovered archived recordings

Natural England staff at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Natural Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire have uncovered old tape recordings in their office archive which explore the different habitats in the reserve and the various creatures that inhabit them, and have used them to create a new nature trail.

The original audio guides were recorded by Oddie in 1994/5 for Natural England, when it was known as English Nature. In partnership with Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, they have been given new life (including updated audio introductions) and made available for visitors to listen on their smartphone. A new accompanying illustrated map of the reserve has been created by Tish Cookson, of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Four of the charming recordings are available – one for each season. The trail begins at Rimac car park and takes visitors through some of Lincolnshire’s largest and oldest dunes, past scenic ponds and to viewpoints overlooking the wildlife-rich freshwater marsh and saltmarsh habitats that the reserve is famous for. In the era of social distancing this revived guide offers a wonderful way to connect with nature and learn about the reserve without meeting reserve wardens or joining in-person guided walks.

Finding this old tape recording by Bill Oddie was like dusting off an antique natural history book
Tish Cookson
Engagement Officer for Dynamic Dunescapes in Lincolnshire

Natural England and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust are working together at this site as part of an ambitious project called Dynamic Dunescapes, which aims to restore 7,000 hectares of coastal sand dune habitat in England and Wales. The project is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE Programme, and will tackle the current trends of habitat stabilisation and invasive species growth which are currently leading to biodiversity loss.

Tish Cookson, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Engagement Officer for Dynamic Dunescapes was delighted to bring the old audio guides back to life, “Finding this old tape recording by Bill Oddie was like dusting off an antique natural history book. It tells the story of Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR throughout the seasons, and will open your eyes to all the strange and wonderful wildlife that call this place home. I hope our little bit of 'spring cleaning' helps you connect with nature on this amazing reserve."

The audio guides can be streamed and the map downloaded from the Dynamic Dunescapes website.

You can also find out more about Dynamic Dunescapes’ work at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR. 

Dynamic Dunescapes project and funders logos

About Dynamic Dunescapes

Dynamic Dunescapes is a partnership project restoring sand dunes across England and Wales for the benefit of wildlife, people and communities, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE Programme. Project partners are Natural England, Plantlife, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

The coastal dunes of England and Wales are internationally important habitats for wildlife, listed as one of the most threatened environments in Europe for biodiversity loss. These dunes are a sanctuary to rare species like the fen orchid, natterjack toad and sand lizard. But, dune management messaging supporting dune stabilisation over many decades has meant that dunes have become overgrown with vegetation. We now realise that this is putting protected wildlife at risk. Healthy sand dunes need to be free to move and be dynamic. Many species need areas of open sand to thrive, so this project will bring life back to the dunes by creating areas of open sand. Other specialised creatures need us to improve the dune slacks, as these often water-filled dips behind the dunes are important habitats for amphibians and birds. Invasive species will also be removed from the dunes and dune grasslands, to improve conditions for rare native plants to flourish. We will work with skilled local and national experts, and involve schools and local groups, volunteers and visitors of all ages and abilities to help rejuvenate our dunes.

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