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National Trust in Formby thank everyone for their Christmas trees

National Trust would like to thank everyone for their Christmas trees. As the recycling collection period ended on Sunday 14th January, National Trust rangers and volunteers have been busy moving the trees from the Victoria Road beach car park.

This season they are being deployed close to the caravan park. Here they are being bedded into the dunes so that they help to catch windblown sand and thus prevent further build up.

Area Ranger Kate Martin told The Bubble: "We’d like to thank all those friends who have brought their trees to us in January. It’s a technique that we have developed over the years. The upsides are that it’s a good green practice recycling the trees which otherwise can be a real problem for local disposal and it can be very effective as a short term measure in holding back the movement of the dunes. The downsides are that it is extremely labour intensive and the trees lose their effectiveness as sand catches as the needles dry out and fall off. Without the volunteer help, we really could not manage – so our special thanks to them all."

Over the past decade National Trust staff and hundreds of volunteers have dug in over 15,000 recycled Christmas trees to create fences across the sand dunes. These fences have been placed in areas where the naturally occurring Marram Grass has been lost due to trampling. When the Marram grass is lost the sand dune becomes bare and this means that when the wind blows in from the sea the sand on the dune blows away and the dunes become flattened. This is a serious problem as not only does this mean that important sand dune habitat is lost but it also compromises the dunes as a natural sea defence for Formby.

The Christmas tree dune fences help to mitigate this damage by mimicking the action of the Marram grass, catching the sand blown on to the dunes from the beach and also dissipating the power of the wind as it blows across the surface of the dunes. Over time the trees become buried which helps to build up the dunes and they also help to partly stabilise the surface of the dunes which often allows the Marram grass to take hold again naturally.

Andrew Brockbank, National Trust Countryside Manager for Formby said: “This is a great way to recycle your Christmas tree. Dune fences help the dunes to build up and encourage the growth of Marram Grass which in turn is good for wildlife and good for natural coastal protection."

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