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
Scrub
Woodland
Vegetation/Soil Data
Studying Succession
Pine Plantations
Project Objectives
Project Partners
Project Funding
Publications
Related Links
Primary Colonisers at the Strand Line
 

The sand is an inhospitable substrate for plant growth. It is

  • dry salty lacking in plant nutrients
  • unstable

Only highly specialised plants which have evolved strategies to grow in such an inhospitable environment are able to colonise. These are the primary colonisers of the sand dune succession and are restricted in their distribution to this very stressful type of habitat. Examples are:

  • Sea Rocket Cakile maritima
  • Prickly Saltwort Salsola kali

These annual plants may form miniature sand dunes as sand accumulates around the plant body and the plant is able to grow upwards a little through the accumulating sand. Alternatively, they may be washed away by the waves brought in on the next high tide.

 
Sea Rocket forming miniature dunes
Sea Rocket forming miniature dunes at the top of the beach
 

On the Sefton Coast, these strand line plants are only found at the accreting northern and southern ends of the system, not around the erosion front at Formby Point.

 

 

For more information about this project email dunes@hope.ac.uk 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.