Sand dunes are listed as the habitat most at risk in Europe. They are a sanctuary for endangered plants and animals like the dune gentian and natterjack toad. However, many are being smothered and fixed by a tide of invasive scrub, becoming sterile, grassy hillocks.
Now the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given initial support* for a £4.1m grant to an innovative four-year partnership project, Dynamic Dunescapes, which will restore some of the most important sand dune landscapes in England and Wales.
Natural England, National Trust, Plantlife, The Wildlife Trusts and Natural Resources Wales will work with local coastal communities to conserve and restore up to 7000ha in nine areas across England and Wales.
Sand dunes are a naturally dynamic habitat. As the coastal winds blow, new ‘embryo’ dunes are formed at the top of the beach and they slowly grow and shift to create the landscapes we know. The early stages of the project will explore how we can re-establish the natural movement within dunes, to create the conditions that some of our rarest wildlife relies upon.