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Geography

Coastal management

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Case study: tourism in Studland Bay Nature Reserve

Studland Bay is located in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset and is popular with tourists. It can be accessed by ferry from the desirable area of Sandbanks in Poole during the summer. It is only a few minutes drive from the resort of Swanage and most visitors arrive by car.

Studland Bay is a good example of a place where conflict can occur between interest groups.

The issues

Studland Beach

Studland Beach

  • The nature reserve is an area of sand dunes. These are dynamic, but often unstable and vulnerable environments.
  • Areas such as this are home to rare species of plants and birds.
  • The area is attractive to tourists because of the dunes and the wide, sandy beach. The beach can get very crowded in summer months.
  • Visitors need somewhere to park and also demand other facilities, such as paths and public toilets.
  • Tourists bring their problems such as litter and fire hazards (caused by barbecues and cigarette ends).

How is the area managed?

  • Vulnerable areas and areas recently planted with marram grass (which is used to stabilise the dunes) are fenced off to limit access and damage.
  • Boardwalks have been laid through the dunes to focus tourists onto specific paths.
  • Car parks have been provided and people are not permitted to drive onto the beach.
  • Fire beaters are positioned within the dune area in case of a fire.
  • Facilities including a shop, café, toilets and litter bins are provided near the car parks to focus tourists into one area.
  • Information boards educate visitors about the environment and how they can help to protect it.

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