Christmas tree recycling also protects British Open course

Meeting point is the beach not far from the British Open course Royal Lytham & St Annes. We’re talking about an unusual assignment – it’s about recycling Christmas trees to protect the dunes on the Fylde coast and, in turn, to protect the houses and golf courses beyond.

11,000 Christmas trees buried

“During the past 150 years we have lost over 80 per cent of the dunes on the Fylde coastline, largely due to the continued expansion of coastal sites,” explains Amy Pennington of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust . The task now is to rebuild and expand the dunes that also border the golf courses at St Annes’ Old Links and Royal Lytham & St Annes towards the coast. On the one hand, because they “are a unique habitat for many very special bird and plant species”, on the other hand, “because our dunes are also a very effective form of soft marine protection for our places.”

In fact, the Fylde Coast project is very effective. The dune landscape near St. Annes and Lytham has already widened by up to 80 meters in some areas. Christmas trees have now been buried in large quantities, over 11,000 in total. Last year alone, 2,500 Christmas trees were donated by local residents.

Six acres of new habitat

The “Christmas trees will be slightly buried in a line in front of the existing dunes, leaving the branches slightly sticking out and catching the sand that is blown by the wind. Over time, the sand accumulates around the trees and small embryo dunes begin to build up.”

The Fylde Sand Dunes Project has created six hectares of new habitat since 2008, so that, among other things, more than 360 small lizards could be released. More than 10,000 volunteers have been involved in the project, including more than 3,000 students who have volunteered as part of a beach school program.

Golf courses on the English coast are highly threatened by erosion and flooding. The two courses St. Annes Old Links and Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s are located behind the dune wall directly on the sea and are therefore also affected. In both cases, the golf course is one of the few properties that is not developed because this is prohibited by the municipal building regulations.

Incidentally, the Christmas tree campaign in Lytham is not the only one of its kind that serves to build up dunes. In St. Andrews, Christmas trees have also been lightly buried in the dunes of West Sands every year for a number of years to prevent erosion here. The greenkeepers of the St. Andrews Linkstrust also take part in this campaign again and again.