The UK coastline contains many more delights than soft white sand and beautiful blue seas. The sand dunes that often play backdrop to the coastline are most impressive in stature, rising high above the sea line and containing some fantastic wildlife and plantations. Due to this, it is widely known and accepted that the special habitats of the sand dunes of the UK must be fiercely protected.
For example, Braunton Burrows in Devon is an absolute haven for wild flowers. The huge site is home to over 400 species of flowers, so it’s little surprise that Braunton Burrows has been listed as a UNESCO biosphere site; ranked as important and significant for wildlife and the surrounding ecosystem as Mount Vesuvius! However, the fragility of the area does not mean that it cannot be enjoyed by the public. The land is open to all comers and many activities take place on Braunton Burrows, including orienteering and bird watching. A level of respect for the dunes is naturally expected by those who look after the site. It is this continued level of respect that allows visitors to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the sand dunes in this area, often rising to as high as 20 metres above the ground. This and other sites around the UK are perfect for a family day out; a stroll amongst the sand dunes can be an eye opening and educating experience, perfectly followed and complimented by a relaxing day on a nearby beach.
The UK is littered with beautiful sand dune terrain, perfect for exploration and relaxation. Forested sand dunes are particularly pleasant, with the forest of Roseisle, near Elgin in Scotland, being a specific example. A beautifully clean forest floor is covered only with a scattering of pine needles from the fragrant trees above. A stroll amongst the sand dunes in the serene pine forest, with only the fantastic scent of pine to accompany you, is a hugely refreshing experience, which can also be experienced in many others parts of the UK.
Sand dunes are also a superb place to spot some of the UK’s rarest wildlife. Amongst any set of dunes in the UK you are guaranteed to see a wide variety of birds, from Skylarks to Ringed Plovers. If you are lucky, you may even see a Kestrel, or in the dunes of Scotland, a Red Kite hovering in the sky above! Also, the varied plantations and habitats make a perfect home for a variety of animals of the dune floor; many sand dune areas in the UK contain Sand Lizards and even some snakes!
Next time you plan your coastal holiday, don’t just head straight for the obvious sandy beach. Why not take into account the fantastic sand dunes that accompany many of Britain’s beaches? Take the time to explore and immerse yourself in the peace of the dunes. Furthermore, take the opportunity to appreciate some of the finest and rarest wildlife that the UK has to offer, often exclusively found in the special habitat of these sand dunes.
Article by Simply Beach
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