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SALTFLEETBY-THEDDLETHORPE DUNES NNR

ENGLAND

LINCOLNSHIRE (Louth), (E)

53o24´29" N/0o12´03" E (Seaview car park),

587 hectares (with a further 780ha foreshore), Sea level to a few metres, sand dunes, freshwater marsh, saltmarsh, lagoons, sea buckthorn thickets 
(February 2013 & 2014)

 

Birding Site Guide

From Louth head E on the B1200, cross the coastal A1031 and park in the Seaview car park concealed in the dunes. Signed trails lead from here. There are other car parks to the N (Paradise) and S (Rimac, then Churchill Lane) further S in Theddlethorpe St. Helen the sign near the church that says ‘to the sea’ leads to two car parks: Brickyard Lane and Crook Bank. At these latter two the mudflats are not as wide and so viewing the waders is easier. Also here it is a good place for Twite and Snow Bunting. 

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This reserve has been heroically saved from development by (then) Linconshire Naturalists’ Society, English Nature, Lindsey County Councils and the Air Ministry. The area was deemed worthy as saving as early as 1893 when Linc. Nats. held a meeting there, and the battle continued into the latter part of the 20th Century, when the bombing range ceased there.

This geologically recent dune system contains between its mounds freshwater pools and further out borders a huge area of saltmarsh. The scarcity and therefore importance of freshwater pools in sand dunes lies in the fact that this is where Natterjack Toads breed, the species here at one time coming perilously close to extirpation. These pools and mudflats play host to huge numbers of waders, ducks and geese with sea birds further offshore. 

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The reserve has several trails (it is not desirable to wander off these not just because of disturbance to wildlife or even because of thick sticky mud, but more to avoid unexploded ordnance from the former bombing range!). The Rimac Easy Access Trail has disabled access and is located a Rimac car park. There is a Public Footpath which follows its edge along the dunes nearly to the southern end where an ordinary path continues and other Natural England trails follow the seaward side of the dunes. There are several places to sit and view. To the N is the Donna Nook Reserve.

A feature of the 285 recorded birds species (62 of which have bred) are the numerous Dark-bellied Brent Geese and also in winter the Hen Harrier roost. Waders are evident with Red Knot often numerous and large numbers of Curlew, with many other species of waders ducks and herons about. Along the shore line are gulls usually including Common and Lesser Black-backed. Off-shore the full range of seabirds from terns, auks and skuas to sea ducks may be found. Ringing studies in the dunes over the years have turned up such rarities as Booted Warbler and Red-flanked Bluetail and so anything is possible! Barn Owls are common over the meadows further inland.

Common Lizard and Grass Sanke are the only reptiles.

Of the 25 recorded species of mammals, the most notable are Otter and Water Vole.

Four speces of amphibians have been recorded Smooth Newt, Common Frog, Common and Natterjack Toad. With such a rich flora and some rare habitats the invertebrates list is impressive too with 28 species of butterfly and 14 of dragonfly recorded. The bee Bombus muscorum is found here but the most notable species, only found at one other British site is the Marsh Moth. Other notables are Camberwell Beauty, Brown Argus, Dark Green Fritillary, Valerian Pug, Scarce Pug, Marsh Pug, Rosy-winged Muslim, Rosy Wave, Dotted Footman, Striated Whorl Snail and Short-winged Conehead.

Of the 326 species of plants found here, here is a brief summary. The more established landward dunes are covered with Marram Grass, other plants then can get a foothold such as Pyramidal Orchid, Viper’s Bugloss, Fairy Flax, Red Fescue, Marsh Arrowgrass, Sea Lyme Grass, Bird’s foot Trefoil and Lady’s Bedstraw. Between here and the outer dunes are dune grasslands and freshwater pools which support some flowering plants including Bee and Early Marsh Orchid, Yellow Rattle, Common Centaury, Field Mouse-Ear, Knapweed, Greater Pond Sedge, Sea Club Rush, Kingcup, Lesser Spearwort, Flag Iris, Cuckoo Pint, Carline Thistle, Feltwort, Lesser Meadow Rue and Meadow Sweet. Rarer plants of the reserve are Moonwort, Marsh Pea, Marsh Hellobrine, Bog Pimpernel, Lesser Water Plantain, Skullcap, Saltmarsh Flat Sedge, Ivy-leaved Crowfoot, Few-flowered Spike Rush, Slender Spike Rush, Danish Scurvy Grass, Ragged Robin, Great Water Parsnip, Lesser Water Plantain, Rough Clover, Long-bracketed Sedge, Divided Sedge, Sand Sedge, Glaucous Sedge, Autumnal Hawkbit, Night-flowering Catchfly and Beaked Tusselweed to name a few. Because of the dangerous nature of the site these should not be sought for without permission and expert local knowledge. 21 Bryphytes, 9 Lichens and 3 Mosses have been recorded.


Author: BSG

www.birdingsiteguide.com