Helping protect St Andrews’ iconic coastline

Old trees for new dunes.
Old trees for new dunes.

Around 25 volunteers helped the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust with its work to protect the iconic St Andrews coastline this week.

The volunteers joined countryside rangers Ranald Strachan and Bob Weston on Saturday to help with the ‘Old Trees for New Dunes’ project.

The scheme is part of the FCCT and St Andrews Links Trust’s efforts to transform the local coastline, using donated Christmas trees to help prevent crater erosion on the sand dunes along West Sands.

More than 275 trees were donated by local residents, which were then placed in a badly eroded crater in dunes along the stretch of beach, with the aim of supporting sand catching and grass growth. As well as helping the dunes, the project also limits the amount of waste going to landfills.

Commenting on the Christmas tree recycling scheme, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust Ranger Ranald Strachan said: “Utilising the recycled trees has proved a success in the past and have helped prevent further erosion of the craters from high winds, which are such a frequent occurrence along the Fife coastline.

“As well as benefiting the sand dunes, it also limits waste going to landfill and provides the donor with an extra opportunity to make a lasting gift out of their old tree which contributes to environmental restoration.”

This is the third year the project has been running, and the organisers say it is making a significant contribution to the preservation of the dunes, which is a vital coastal protecting the golf courses.

This week’s efforts follow a fire last year which damaged the work previously carried out by volunteers.

The FCCT is planning a large sand recharge to cover the trees in February.

Once these works are completed, further volunteer events will be held to replant areas of the dunes with marram grass.

For more information about how to get involved and the work of the project, visit