Formby Dynamic Dunescapes
Client: The National Trust
Location: Formby, Merseyside
The aim of this project was to improve this coastal area for wildlife, a large amount of mature scrub was removed from the dunes and wet slacks were created.
Scrub removal and slack creation
This project is part of the Dynamic Dunescapes initiative. To improve this coastal area for wildlife, a large amount of mature scrub was removed from the dunes and wet slacks were created.
JPR were successful in winning this tender for a Dynamic Dunescapes DuneLIFE project at Formby. The site is part of the Sefton Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), notified for its dune habitat. The area is also designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The project required the removal of scrub which had become dense due to lack of grazing.
Dense scrub encroachment into slack and mobile dune habitats were removed at several locations using machinery for the heaviest growth. All loose sand and soil was shaken from root material so that all arisings, including roots, could be burnt on site.
In total, approximately 1.07ha² of mature scrub including sea buckthorn, birch and poplar, was removed from the dunes.
The groundworks on this mobile dune habitat were challenging, especially as the area was still fully open to the public.
Wet slacks were created by excavating down to the natural water table. We removed vegetation and the upper soil layer from the fixed dune grassland to restore early successional habitats and mobile sand to the dune systems. Surplus turf was buried and covered with sand. Excavated material was used to form embankments with naturalistic contours. Embankments were covered with surplus scraped sand from deepening scrapes close to the water table. Slacks excavated below the water table were profiled with gently sloping gradients.
Where it was not possible to reach the natural water table, pond liners were used which were then covered with surplus bare sand.
The dunes have been improved in terms of biodiversity and habitat potential, particularly for natterjack toad, and the client is very happy with the result and looking to commission more wetland landscaping works from JPR Environmental.
[Natterjack Toad image: Frank Vassen Photo Credit]