Volunteers preserve the Holkham dunes
Volunteers who care about the environment were out in force on Sunday helping to preserve sand dunes which are part of Holkham’s National Nature Reserve.
The dunes not only protect a valuable inland agricultural landscape, but are also an increasingly important habitat for a whole range of important animals and plants.
The dunes are known as grey dunes because they contain some decomposed organic matter unlike yellow dunes which are pure sand.
They range along the coast on the coastward side of a strip of mainly Corsican pine trees known locally as The Pine Woods or The Meals.
Guiding the band of workers was Holkham reserve warden Andy Bloomfield, who said the trees had provided an additional benefit by stopping sand that blew onto the fields degrading the soil.
He said: “The pine woods were planted to stabilise the sand dunes and the sea defences in the 1800’s.”
More recently it has been realised the dunes were also of great ecological value as a home to invertebrates, such as rare spiders, and flowers, birds and mammals.
Preventing invasive species, such as Holm Oak, and the pine tree seedlings, that would destroy the wild life habitat, is a constant battle with nature.
Volunteers normally turn out on the last Sunday of each moth during the winter to keep the young trees at bay. This time the attack was on the pine tree seedlings which were pulled up by their roots.
On other occasions, the work is concentrated on the Holm oak which must be sawn off at the base and spot treated with chemicals.
No one counted the number of pine seedlings uprooted but they filled large bags and numbered many hundreds.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the programme should phone 01328 800730 for further details.