On the Lincolnshire coastline, Dynamic Dunescapes is working at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes, Gibraltar Point and Cleethorpes Dunes.

Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes and Gibraltar Point

Our work covers the two largest sand dune systems in Lincolnshire: Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes and Gibraltar Point. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves and are connected by 26.5km of coast. The sand dunes have built up slowly here because the prevailing wind is an offshore westerly one, and dune accretion can only happen when easterly onshore winds carry sand inland from the beach. Unusually for this area, these dunes are growing and a major new dune ridge has developed at Gibraltar Point in the last 20 years, making it a really exciting environment for us to work in. If you visited this beautiful slice of the Lincolnshire coast some years ago, make sure to come back soon to see how the landscape is changing naturally!

Our team are restoring the wildflower-rich fixed dunes and grey dunes by creating areas of bare sand, clearing some scrub, and removing invasive and non-native species which have escaped from nearby gardens to choke the dune scrub, such as traveller’s joy (clematis). This will help a wide range of plants, mosses, lichens and animal species that need short grassland with areas of bare sand. To support the populations of natterjack toad and the rare crucifix ground beetle, the dune slacks will be rejuvenated and areas of bare sand will be created to support rare plant and moss species.

Ponies and cattle also graze the dunes at Saltfleetby to keep the growth of sea buckthorn low. This spiky plant can overtake dune habitats and stabilise dunes. Its growth was once limited by dune-dwelling rabbits, but their population has dramatically declined so the ponies and cattle now fill that role, allowing biodiversity to flourish. We've excitingly been using GPS No-Fence technology to graze our cattle across more specific areas of the dunes without installing miles of new fences.

Several chestnut brown cows with GPS collars and yellow ear tags follow a path in grass land

Our project on the Lincolnshire coast will help rejuvenate sand dune systems at Saltfleetby-Theedlethope, Gibraltar Point and Cleethorpes. Work here is jointly led by Natural England and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

A woman is seen walking through the dune grassland. The sun is rising, over the sand dunes in the distance

We are also helping to re-create the historic landscape along the Great Eau, linking the floodplain grazing marshes to the dunes in an area known as The Washlands. We have created a dune ridge which was flattened for agriculture in the 1950s and new pools and wetland scrapes, offering breeding or overwintering birds more safe refuge areas.

As part of the project, the building of new accommodation is proposed at both Saltfleetby -Theddlethorpe and at Gibraltar Point for long-term NNR volunteers or apprentices helping to manage the habitat, monitor wildlife or conduct scientific projects. We hope that these will empower the next generation of conservationists and enable more people to explore this incredible habitat.

Cleethorpes Dunes

Further along the Lincolnshire Coast at Cleethorpes Dunes, we have been undertaking scrub clearance between the main blocks of scrub so that the dune grassland can flourish. Previous scrub clearance by North East Lincs Council has resulted in flower-rich wet grasslands where each summer hundreds of orchids bloom.

Visiting Saltfleetby?

Tune in and explore Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR with Bill Oddie

Follow our new audio-guided trail.

Wildlife you might see on the Lincolnshire Coast

Amphibians in the dune slacks include the natterjack toad and the smooth newt. In the drier grassland you may also be lucky to spot a common lizard - although they do move fast! Rimac is a great place to see water voles; keep an ear open for the plop of one entering the water about our easy access trail.

Among the many species of bird which use this coastline as a breeding site, keep your eyes open to spot turtle dove, singing skylark and marsh harriers. In the autumn / winter the site is an important stop-off for feeding and resting waders / wildfowl which use the saltmarshes and flood plain grazing marsh. We also get a several rare species which draw in bird enthusiasts.

On a warm sunny day you are likely to see a number of bees, dragonflies, damselflies and ground beetles. Butterflies too, can be found flitting between a range of flowers, including small heath, green hairstreak and wall. Watch for the crucifix ground beetle along the edges of the wet and dry dunes.

Sea buckthorn is easy to spot with its spiky bushes and bright orange berries. Other plants you might see include beautiful bee and marsh orchids, harebells, bird’s-foot-trefoil, common centaury, yellow-rattle, viper’s-bugloss and fairy flax.  The shorter rabbit-grazed grassland also supports a number of mosses and lichens which give the area an interesting texture.

Meet Your Friendly Face in Lincolnshire

Abby Armitage
People Engagement Officer, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

Abby Armitage

I have had a passion for the marine environment and nature from a young age. This led to a degree in Coastal Marine Biology. However, it was during my education ranger traineeship in Devon, that I found a love of connecting people with nature. I used these skills in many roles in London and Dorset and now as part of this project I have the opportunity to connect and show people wildlife wonders on their doorstep and help protect Europe’s most threatened habitat.

Wildlife you might see on the Lincolnshire Coast

You can get involved!

We are planning a whole host of events, guided walks, nature talks, citizen science projects, volunteering and training or work experience opportunities for the whole community to get involved in.

We’ll also be offering opportunities for local schools to explore the dunes and learn about the importance of sand dune habitats and species. We will regularly update our events page on this website, so remember to check back often to see what we’ve added to our exciting calendar!

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Read some of our blog posts about our work in Lincolnshire

A man in a red ladybird costume smiles at the camera

Making music inspired by sand dunes

Curator Wanted: Art of Saving Sand Dunes Exhibition in Lincolnshire

A smiling woman with brown hair holds a copy of her new book in the sunshine

Alicia Hayden on “Every Dune is a Mountain”

World Sand Dune Day 2022: Thanks for Helping us Celebrate!

Two small black and white birds stand at the edge of the waves on the beach

October & November 2021 Wetland and Seabirds of Note at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

A yellow digger can be seen clearing scrub from an area of dune

Scrub cut at Cleethorpes will boost dune biodiversity

Immature Red-backed Shrike at Sea View on a branch against the bright sky.

Birds at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR: Migrants of Note in Oct/Nov 2021

A youtube thumnail is pictured featuring paintings of dune landscapes and a sunset over the coast.

Painting Lincolnshire’s Coast: A Creative Community Animation

A deer wades through water and reeds in the sunset light

Autumn Brings a Tidal Surge to Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

A small brown bird with a dark head sits on a twig with a yellow background

Breeding Bird Population Changes (2020-2021) at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

A close up image of samphire growing from the sand

Saltmarsh creation and growing foredunes: Four decades of change at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

A tall green stemmed plant with cream and purple flowers

A Guide: Summer Orchids at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

Several chestnut brown cows with GPS collars and yellow ear tags follow a path in grass land

Cattle wearing new smart collars will help improve Lincolnshire’s precious sand dune habitats

A brown bird with its long neck curved under its body is flying with wings outstretched

Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR Bird Sightings May – June 2021

Bird Sightings at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR – April 15th to May 6th

Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR: Selection Bird Sightings 19th March to15th April 2021

Introducing World Sand Dune Day!

Lincolnshire Birds: Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR Early Spring and Avian Departures

Removing Invasive Clematis from Lincolnshire’s Dunes

February bird sightings and marine wash-outs at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

Listen: Explore Anderby Creek with Tish from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

January Bird sightings at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

Discover the A – Z of Dynamic Dunescapes

Top Half-Term Activities for Families in the Sand Dunes

Shifting sands: How a single piece of legislation changed the future of Lincolnshire’s sand dunes

What’s new at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe NNR

New fences protect toads and help cattle in Lincolnshire