Fistral Beach: Christmas trees used to repair sand dunes at Newquay

By Amy Gladwell
BBC News

image copyrightFriends of Fistral Dunes
image captionHay bales bought from a local farm have also been used to add strength

Nearly 30 Christmas trees are being installed at a famous surfing beach to repair "battered" sand dunes.

Newquay's Fistral beach dunes are looking "worse than ever" due to storms, and "massive" footfall, Friends of Fistral Dunes volunteers said.

They hope the project will help sand and marram grass build up again around the trees.

A similar scheme at Porthtowan in Cornwall was previously criticised for creating an "eyesore".

The volunteers are working with Cornwall Council, which owns the land, and local groups.

Fistral beach regularly hosts surf contests which attract competitors from around the world.

image captionThe dunes at Fistral beach have become popular for camping and bbqs in recent years
image copyrightFriends of Fistral Dunes

The used trees have been laid down in rows in one main "trial area" trying to fill up a break in the dunes increasingly being used as a beach access point by surfers and walkers.

Laura Guy-Wilkinson from Friends of Fistral Dunes said a sign had been put up, pointing people to another pathway to access the beach about 100ft (30m) along.

"The dunes are the worst they have ever looked," she said, adding there was a "real appetite from the town" to help protect them.

Mrs Guy-Wilkinson said several Cornish beaches had success with the concept, including Bude, Widemouth and Constantine Bay.

She explained they were following a plan that was written by consultants advising on tackling erosion, and local reaction had so far been very positive.

image captionIn Porthtowan a scheme seven years ago prompted complaints that the trees were unsightly for Easter visitors

Cornwall Council did not respond to a question about problems with the similar scheme in Porthtowan.

A council spokesperson said the trees at Fistral acted "as a windbreak" and helped to create "a more favourable environment for the development of dune plants".

The spokesperson added: "The trees will eventually break down, but the extensive root network associated with the dune plants will bind the sand, helping make the dune a more stable and a more ecologically rich environment."

Several local groups are involved including Newquay Marine Group, Newquay Beach Care, Land and Sea Cornwall, Newquay in Bloom, Cornwall Council, Newquay Town Council and Cormac.

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