Christmas Trees and St Annes Sand Dunes

Christmas Trees and St Annes Sand Dunes

Christmas trees and St Annes Sand Dunes might seem like an unlikely match. But old discarded ones get a new lease of life each year, helping to protect and extend Fylde’s sand dunes as part of the area’s Dunes Project. And Trinity Hospice also benefits too!

Book your Christmas Tree Collection

Christmas tree collection for Trinity Hospice
Christmas tree collection for Trinity Hospice

Volunteers are collecting real Christmas trees from households in exchange for a donation to Trinity Hospice. Collections will take place on 11 and 12 January 2020, these postcodes are included:

FY1  / FY2  / FY3  / FY4  /  FY5   

FY6,7,8 / FY8 / PR4, 2,3

Don’t miss out – book your collection here today! Applications close at 9pm on 7 January 2020.

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Trees collected by volunteers will be planted on St Annes beach between 4th and 6th February 2020 as part of the ongoing sand dunes restoration project.

1400 trees were collected from Christmas 2018, raising a whopping £12,000 for Trinity!

Christmas Trees and St Annes Sand Dunes

For several years, real Christmas trees have been collected by Fylde Council and ‘planted’ at the seaward side of the St Annes dunes.

Old Christmas trees were first planted in front of the dunes in a small section between Starr Gate and Todmorden Road in 2012. The aim was to extend the dunes seawards.

The old trees trap the windblown sand and help the dunes to grow. It not only improves the sea defence but also reduces the problem of windblown sand for residents.

Extending the Sand Dunes

Plantings in previous years have already worked well, creating several feet of sand in front of the dunes that wasn’t there before. It’s diverted hundreds of tonnes of sand from Fylde roads by keeping it on the dunes. Much of this sand would otherwise have been on the roads and in residents’ gardens.

Vitally, they also form ‘soft sea defences’, offering protection against high waves. Dunes reduce the risk of flooding and, importantly, provide extra wildlife habitat.

Not that many years ago these old trees would have gone to landfill and attracted Landfill Tax. Residents would have had to pay the price, one way or the other. With this recycling, the old trees have a new life in helping the environment.

Volunteers and council staff reuse the trees early in the year after the high Spring Tides have passed.

How Christmas Trees Help St Annes Sand Dunes

By the high spring tides of early 2019, the Christmas tree planting had already taken place. As the sea came much further up the beach than usual, you could see the effectiveness of this soft defence in action.

How Christmas Trees Help St Annes Sand Dunes
How Christmas Trees Help St Annes Sand Dunes

Although some of the new defence line of trees and chestnut paling was breached, there’s a distinct difference in how far the waves travel.

Where dune restoration work has taken place, the sea hasn’t reached as far as it has in the areas which haven’t been worked on.

Front of shot - where dune restoration has taken place - and where it hasn't behind
Front of shot – where dune restoration has taken place – and where it hasn’t behind

The Christmas trees and chestnut paling work together with the sand that builds up around them. The bulk reduces the energy of the waves, their speed and their reach.

Over time as more and more sand is trapped in these areas, vegetation such as lyme and marram grass begins to grow. So the dunes effectiveness against high tides and storms will increase.

Donate your Christmas Tree

Each year, Fylde Coast residents are asked to donate their real Christmas trees at the end of the festive season. Don’t forget – when you donate yours – take all the decorations and accoutrements off first!

Volunteer to Plant Christmas Trees

In the early weeks of each year, volunteers gather to ‘plant’ the Christmas trees. The planting line edges seaward each year, so extending the width of the dune.

Planting Christmas trees at St Annes sand dunes
Planting Christmas trees at St Annes sand dunes

Fylde Sand Dunes Project team and volunteers take the donated trees out into the dunes and partially bury them.

The branches of the recycled Christmas trees trap windblown sand as comes ashore. The sand accumulates and helps to naturally build up the sand dunes.

The team are always looking for volunteers. If you’d like to help please visit the St Annes Sand Dunes Facebook page.

If you do get in touch, please mention that you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast – thanks!

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Visit St Annes website for more of the latest updates.

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One Comment
  1. Avatar

    Great idea with the trees, I’ll be there next year if I am able.
    Well done all.

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