The Coastal and Marine Life of FleetwoodPublished Wednesday, 17 February 2021
From the sandy dunes of Fleetwood out into the depths of the Irish Sea, a remarkable array of wildlife calls this place home.
Fleetwood sand dunes are a very important designated and protected habitat. They are mobile dunes, meaning they are dynamic and made up of lots of bare sand. Many specialist plants and insects live here, adapted to the sandy conditions. From the abundant sea holly whose long roots anchor it into the ground, to the delicate coastal leaf cutter bee, feeding off the nectar of the sea holly and burrowing into the sandy substrate where it carefully makes capsules out of leaves to lays its eggs. Over 120 insects have been recorded here, including the dune chafer beetle, a species vulnerable to disturbance as it lays its eggs on top of the sand.
Overhead, an array of bird life is present. Skylarks, a red listed species, sing above and you may be lucky to spot passing migrants including the arctic tern.
As we venture into the Irish Sea, sea grass - underwater meadows - spread across the sea bed. Important for carbon absorption, they provide shelter for young fish and flocking geese as the tide retreats.
Kelp beds are found, underwater forests home to juvenile fish and the inquisitive foraging grey seal. The root-like bases of the kelp form nooks for crustaceans, sea squirts and anemones to hide in too.
At the bottom of the sea, on the sand and gravel, an unusual creature lies. The ocean quarhog. The oldest living creature known to man, the quarhog is a mollusc that can live for 500 years!
There are a wide variety of projects happening locally to help look after these incredible creatures and habitats. One of which is Dynamic Dunescapes, a partnership project restoring sand dunes across England and Wales, funded by the EU Life Programme and National Lottery Heritage Fund. Leading local project partners include Natural England and Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
Dynamic Dunescapes will be working to help restore the sand dunes of Fleetwood. Rosa rugosa, an invasive species is rapidly growing and over-taking the important dune habitat and variety of specialist species here. The project will be working to control areas of Rosa rugosa to help increase biodiversity working closely with Wyre Council.
To find out more visit:
To catch up on the online talk ‘The Coastal and Marine Life of Fleetwood’ visit Dynamic Dunescapes YouTube channel.