UK: Getting the sands moving again


Britain's unique coastal dune flora will receive some help this year as Plantlife try to get them moving again as they begin a novel three year project on the dunes of South Wales.

As Andy Byfield, Plantlife’s Landscape Conservation Manager who is leading the project, visited Kenfig Burrows in South Wales recently, a site of European importance, explained:

photo of fen orchid “I’ve just found some fen orchids, which I’m delighted about. In the 1980s, seven sites around the Bristol channel supported perhaps as many as 100,000 orchids but today this has declined to a single site of only about 400 plants, which shows why this project is so critical. This project, generously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is not about re-establishing moving dune systems within the wider landscape but aims to demonstrate how and why things need to be done differently to help these special species at our trial sites.”

Fen orchid © David Carrington

Sand dunes are complex, unstable systems that are naturally mobile, supporting a specialist flora that prefers the bare, calcium-rich sand. Over the centuries, however, we have artificially and naturally stabilised Britain’s dunes with a devastating effect on our biodiversity. Plantlife will be working initially at Kenfig Burrows in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council and the Countryside Council for Wales, and hopes to extend the project’s influence to other sites around the Bristol Channel.

A bit of information about Kenfig Burrows:

Related links:


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