Burning is sure sign that winter challenges arise
THE plume of smoke rising above the scrub and the unmistakable smell of burning Sea Buckthorn is a sure sign of winter works starting on the dunes.
While our brilliant volunteers battle younger areas of scrub armed with loppers and bow saws, in certain areas larger machinery is needed.
Anyone using the Coastal Road south of Shore Road, Ainsdale, in recent weeks can’t fail to have noticed the ongoing work to clear scrub on the dunes on the inland side of the road.
Here dense scrub has cloaked the rear dunes for too long – as regular readers know, Sea Buckthorn shrouds these areas all too quickly – and the pictures with this week’s column, courtesy of Green Sefton’s Paul Lowry, indicate just how invasive it is.
Once these areas have been cleared it will be interesting to see which species move back in. The seedbank of many dune plants hopefully remains intact beneath the layer of enriched earth on the surface.
Once the scrub is cleared and the ground is exposed the flora may reappear.
This area of the Ainsdale and Birkdale Local Nature Reserve is not the only place where the team will be tackling scrub this winter. Look out for works at Birkdale in the rear and frontal dunes over the shorter days of the coming season.
The Gems In The Dunes lottery-funded project will also be carrying out habitat improvement works at the Queen’s Jubilee Nature Trail nearer to Southport.
A bit closer to the briny and further south in the borough, visitors to the seafront at Hall Road/Blundellsands may have stopped to ponder over the arrival of what appears to be a climbing frame close to the RNLI base.
This is actually the frame for a fascinating project called Wirewall, being run by the National Oceanographic Centre, out of its Liverpool office.
The aim is to measure “overtopping” of waves and collect this data, so that in future those charged with coastal defence can have a clearer idea of what seawalls like the promenade at Crosby need to be able to handle.
The system employs a three-dimensional grid of wires that sense contact with saltwater.
This signal is used to measure the volume and speed of overtopping waves on the 900-metre long seawall at Crosby.
Data gathered by the project will go towards informing any redesigns of the seawall in the future, as the structure approaches the end of its “design life”.
Felled Sea Buckthorn is burnt on site on Ainsdale’s rear dunes
The frame for the Wirewall project at Hall Road, Crosby
Left and above, some Sea Buckthorn is cleared with chainsaws on site