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Removing Invasive Clematis from Lincolnshire’s Dunes

We’ve been working hard to remove areas of clematis, an invasive species not native to our sand dunes, at Crook Bank at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR in Lincolnshire.

So, why are we doing this?

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Crook Bank foreshore after clematis removal, with diversity of habitats

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Crook Bank foreshore before clematis removal, smothered by clematis

Invasive clematis, which reached our dunes by escaping from gardens, has been rapidly colonising the dunes and killing native scrub. It’s a fast-growing climbing plant, which has even been killing mature hawthorns and elders, as well as sea buckthorn – a protected species on the reserve.

Healthy dunes need areas of bare sand to support the full range of specialist species that are adapted for life in the dunes. By removing clematis, we’re creating more space for native dune species, encouraging different habitat types and boosting biodiversity.

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Mature hawthorn struggling under clematis

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Clematis

In the before/after photos in this blog post you can see the areas we have removed clematis, and also some of the shallow scrapes that we’ve created in the dune slack, which was previously smothered by vegetation. These will be great for flora and fauna; we have high hopes of orchids colonising the damp areas and are looking forward to seeing many dragonflies return to this area!
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Crook Bank dune slack after vegetation removal

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Crook Bank North before works, overgrown

The burn piles you can see in some of the before images, where removed biomass was burned on site by contactors to ensure that the clematis would not regrow, were then buried when cool. In fact, they were buried so well, that our Natural England Site Manager had to use the coordinates to find them again when he inspected the site!

We’re not finished yet. We have developed a long-term plan to restore these dunes, and management will be difficult, intensive and ongoing for many years. Our volunteer groups will be involved in supporting our sand dune restoration work, so if you’re interested in helping out too, sign up to volunteer here!

 

Find out more about our work in Lincolnshire here