Holkham helpers praised for dune work

Holkham estae dune clearance
Against a backdrop of a belt of mature pine trees  reserve warden, Jonathan Holt and volunteers, from left, Ken Foster, Martin Chomistek (Chomistek), June Smith and Fiona Wheeler scramble up the side of a dune to tackle the invading young pine trees ANL-160203-201300001

Holkham estae dune clearance Against a backdrop of a belt of mature pine trees reserve warden, Jonathan Holt and volunteers, from left, Ken Foster, Martin Chomistek (Chomistek), June Smith and Fiona Wheeler scramble up the side of a dune to tackle the invading young pine trees ANL-160203-201300001

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Volunteers scrambled about the dunes at Holkham on Sunday uprooting and cutting down newly seeded pine trees which are endangering the balance of nature in the area.

The dunes, a valuable bulwark against the North Sea, front a belt of trees running along the coast at Holkham and are part of England’s largest natural nature reserve which runs from Burnham Overy Staithe down to Blakeney and attracts over 100,000 visitors a year.

Holkham reserve dune work
Getting to the root of the problem: Fran?oise Walker, cuts down a young pine tree ANL-160203-201312001

Holkham reserve dune work Getting to the root of the problem: Fran?oise Walker, cuts down a young pine tree ANL-160203-201312001

Reserve warden Jonathan Holt said: “It’s important to stop the encroachment of the trees onto the dunes.

“We do it to protect the diverse range of fungi and lichens that grow on them.

“It also gives volunteers a chance to see the wildlife of Holkham you normally wouldn’t see.”

Small pine trees, self-seeding into the sand, are easily uprooted though larger ones with a more developed root system must be cut off at the base. There are also some small oak tress that require more specialist attention.

The uprooted pines are used to form new fences protecting the paths along the dunes.

The session was the last of its kind to take place on the dunes until the autumn, as species including plovers, terns and oyster catchers move in.

Mr Holt praised the people who turn out to help during the sessions.

He said: “We have about 30 volunteers and their help is vital. It’s an enormous reserve and there is too much work for Holkham Estate to do on its own.”

The estate uses Facebook to tell their band of helpers when work is being organised and also runs a blog keeping volunteers and supporters up to date both about what is happening on the reserve and planned future events.

More volunteers are always welcome to help with a variety of jobs which help protect and maintain one of England’s most important natural habitats.

For further details, phone the estate’s conservation officer, Sarah Henderson, on 01328 800730.