Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve
Dune Grassland Management
Area Two, Formby
Dynamic Dunescapes Heritage Lottery Fund Partnership
Client: Natural England
Final Value: £7,697
Start Date: Jan 2022
Finish Date: Feb 2022
The Dynamic Dunescapes conservation project aims to rejuvenate some of England & Wales’ most important sand dunes for people, communities and wildlife. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project is an innovative 4-year partnership between Natural England, National Trust, Plantlife, The Wildlife Trusts and Natural Resources Wales.
The project members are working collaboratively with local coastal communities to conserve and restore up to 7000ha of dune system in nine areas across England and Wales.
Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve has several habitat restoration projects assigned to it within the Dynamic Dunescapes Project.
Cabin Hill National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England, this small but special site exhibits classic coastal succession, with intertidal sand flats and embryo dunes grading into mobile yellow dunes. Cabin Hill NNR forms part of the Sefton Coast, the finest dune system on the northwest coast of England. Cabin Hill used to be the largest dune on this section of the coast. It was used as a landmark by shipping approaching Liverpool until removed by sand extraction between 1940 and 1960.
In 1970 a flood bank was created by the water authority to protect the low-lying land behind the dunes from tidal surges. However, this left wet areas (slacks) on either side, which have become very important for wildlife.
The extensive shores provide undisturbed feeding and roosting grounds for thousands of migrating and over-wintering birds.
Main habitats: embryo dunes, yellow dunes, fixed dunes, wet slacks, flower-rich grassland, dune pasture and deciduous woodland.
This project aims to reduce the amount of developing tussocky grasses and carpeting creeping willow scrub and aid the restoration of dune slack and grassland species.
Increasing creeping willow scrub encroachment at Cabin Hill NNR is seen as a threat to site condition status. Loss of overall biodiversity through shading, soil enrichment and acceleration of dune succession reduces floral diversity and creates unsuitable terrestrial habitat for key species such as Natterjack Toad.
The removal of willow scrub in conjunction with mowing, bailing, and livestock grazing is recognised as good management in restoring open dunes habitats.
CCNW carried out the dune grassland management works using specialist equipment, including a tractor and frail cutter attachment within the designated area 2, totalling approximately 2.593 ha of coarse grass species and creeping willow scrub. Then all the cut materials were collected using a tractor and a flail collector attachment. The green hay was then loaded into large trailers and transported from the site for disposal.
Habitat improvement works
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
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