Sands of Time Title
This site provides detailed information on the sand dunes of the Sefton coast in North West England
Home Page
Coastal Change
A History
  Physical Forces
Growth & Erosion
Future Change
Managing Change
Primary Succession
Model of Succession
The Strand Line
Embryo Dunes
Mobile Dunes
Blow Outs
Semi-fixed Dunes
Fixed Dunes
Dune Slacks
Dune Heath
Vegetation/Soil Data
Studying Succession
Pine Plantations
Project Objectives
Project Partners
Project Funding
Related Links
Embryo Dunes

Sand accumulation which persists above the high tide line of normal tides may be suitable for colonisation by the first perennial plants in dune succession which are specialised grasses. The most common is

Sand Couch Elytrigia juncea.
This species differs from Marram (see mobile dunes) in being smaller and less stiff and sharp. The ligule is very short (see a grass identification guide for explanation of this characteristic).
Lyme grass Leymus arenarius
is also widespread on the Sefton Coast. It is another large grass and is easily distinguished by having a very broad blue-green leaf.
Sand Couch starting to form Embryo Dunes
Sand Couch starting to form embryo dunes
at the top of the beach
Lyme Grass
Lyme grass

Both of these grasses are able to grow upwards through accumulating wind-blown sand and as a result low, hummocky dunes are formed. The substrate is still extremely inhospitable to plant growth (see vegetation and soil data relating to Quadrat 1).

Line of Embryo Dunes at Ainsdale
Line of embryo dunes at Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve


For more information about this project email at Liverpool Hope University.
  Go to the site of Liverpool Hope University    

Liverpool Hope University worked with English Nature and the
Sefton Coast Partnership to implement the Sands of Time project.