Christmas trees recycled at the sand dunes 12 January 2017

Community volunteers got together to put old Christmas trees to good use at Widemouth Bay in Cornwall. The project saw 150 old Christmas trees "planted" in an effort to protect the sand dunes at this 2016 Blue Flag awarded beach. 

The trees are used to create fences across the dunes, replacing the naturally occurring marram grass which has been lost due to trampling and erosion. Where this marram grass is lost, the wind blowing in from the sea whips the sand away and the dunes become flattened. This means both a loss of an important wildlife habitat and comprises the dunes as a natural sea defence for Widemouth.

After last year's project planted 80 trees, there was a noticeable reduction in sand blown across the road behind the dunes. Over time, the trees will become buried and will both build up the dunes and help stabilise them so marram grass can reestablish, either naturally or by being planted. 

The project was a joint effort between Widemouth Task Force, Cormac and Bude Valley Volunteers. Gareth Cann, a Cormac countryside ranger, said: “It’s great to see the local community using their old Christmas trees to help to reduce sand dune erosion. This helps the local environment as well as reducing the amount of rubbish going into land fill."

Duncan Ball, Bude Valley Volunteers co-ordinator, added: “It’s fantastic to be involved in this event. It’s good to see so many people using their old trees for a good cause. There’s a great community spirit.

Projects such as this will help beaches achieve their Blue Flag Award, the 2017 Blue Flag Award winning beaches will be announced here on 15 May.