Case study: sand dune translocation

We moved and then put back a small sand dune sys­tem as part of works to upgrade Par Waste Water Treat­ment Works.  This work was under­taken for South West Water as part of their major upgrade of treat­ment works, Oper­a­tion Clean Sweep.   The dunes are formed from sand dis­charged to sea from china clay work­ings, and are made of coarse sand and gravel, and are less mobile than many other sys­tems.  The dunes included a mix of mar­ram grass and other small shrubs, backed by an area of wil­low and alder cop­pice, and at the time was a pop­u­lar natur­ist beach.


Wildlife Wood­lands sur­veyed and mapped the habi­tats, and then cleared a 10 metre cor­ri­dor for the new pipeline.  Mar­ram was moved by a com­bi­na­tion of heavy plant and machin­ery and hand plant­ing in a nurs­ery area on the adja­cent beech.  Con­stant water­ing was required, pumped from a nearby stream, as the move was under­taken in the sum­mer, prior to the lay­ing of a new out­fall pipe.  Cut­tings were taken from the wil­low trees, and sev­eral large cop­pice stools were cut at 1.2 metres height and moved, stored at a greater depth than nor­mal, to help reach the water table.

Nine months later the reverse process was under­taken in the spring, with chest­nut pal­ing fenc­ing erected around the mar­ram grass to pro­tect it dur­ing re-establishment.  This was removed after two years.  Pho­tographs below include the site eigh­teen years later, with lit­tle sign of where the work had been undertaken.

Back at the treat­ment plant we also under­took the main land­scap­ing work, which included thin­ning a strip of Scot’s Pine wood­land, which we were able to under­take free of charge, sell­ing the tim­ber to cover costs.  The wood was then under­planted with native broadleaves, and wild­flower plugs were used as part of the more for­mal landscaping.

Three con­tracts, com­bined value £60,000.

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