The National Trust has acquired a former Lincolnshire golf course, including 2km of coastal land, to help create a new 30 hectare, (74 acre), coastal nature reserve.
Working in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, East Lindsey District Council and the Environment Agency the reserve will form part of the Lincolnshire Coastal Countryside Park, to help protect wildlife.
Purchased for £800,000, it is the first coastal acquisition by the conservation charity since it secured 1.35km of the White Cliffs of Dover coastline in 2012. It has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from a supporter together with funds from the Trust’s Neptune Coastline Campaign, which supports coastline projects.
The former 30 hectare (74 acre) Sandilands golf course will be transformed by restoring sand dune and wetland habitats to make a haven for a variety of wildlife, especially uncommon migratory birds such as black-tailed godwit, spotted redshank and spoonbill along with breeding birds like snipe, lapwing and oystercatcher.
Work on the transformation will start once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, and the current Government restrictions are lifted.
The new reserve will complement the Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park, a 3,500 hectare (8,650 acre) area of coastline extending from Chapel Point in the south to Sandilands in the north, with coastal habitats including stunning sandy beaches, sand dunes and a series of grazing marshes and reedbeds that are important for wildlife.
Louise Ransberry, Assistant Director of Operations for the National Trust in the East Midlands, said: “The vision for the future of the new reserve is to provide a space where everyone can enjoy the benefits of nature.
“The Lincolnshire coast is one of the most important stretches of English coastline for wildlife, especially as it’s on the east coast ‘flyway’ migration route for birds.
“Once we are able to welcome visitors, they will be able to enjoy the colours of yellow flag iris and purple loosestrife while hearing the calls of squadrons of avocet; and, in winter, people will be able to admire the grace of a whooper swans’ flight as they arrive from their summer breeding grounds in the sub-arctic.”
After current restrictions on movement are lifted the Trust will carry out detailed surveys of the land to begin restoration of the sand dunes, dune pools and wetland. It will also start work on converting the building into a visitor centre and café.
Paul Learoyd, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted the National Trust is making this commitment to the Lincolnshire coast. By restoring and protecting this section of the coast, there will be an easily accessible nature rich experience along this important stretch of coastline.
“The range of coastal habitats includes wide sandy beaches, sand dunes, dune scrub, reedbeds and freshwater grazing marshes. This provides habitat and migration stop-off points for large numbers of wading birds, terns and gulls, winter visitors such as thrushes and in the summer, breeding warblers and marsh harriers.”
Andy Beer, Director of the Midlands said: “We’re particularly pleased to be launching this nature reserve as the National Trust celebrates its 125th anniversary year. The work our teams and supporters do to look after special places is still as relevant today as it was 125 years ago.
“As we face into the climate crisis and the decline in wildlife numbers, we need nature now more than ever.
“There’s also growing evidence that when people connect with nature they’re more likely to protect it and help reverse the decline in wildlife. We also know that connecting with nature is good for our wellbeing, so creating a new nature reserve that complements the wider Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park will not only provide a welcome space for wildlife to thrive but it will also be a place where visitors, after the coronavirus crisis has passed, can thrive as well.”
For more on the beautiful Lincolnshire Natural Coast, visit www.lincsnaturalcoast.com
Header image: John Miller/National Trust.