St Andrews Links Trust’s farm land deal to protect future of links as part of erosion work

An aerial view of St Andrews Links (Pic: St Andrews Links Trust)An aerial view of St Andrews Links (Pic: St Andrews Links Trust)
An aerial view of St Andrews Links (Pic: St Andrews Links Trust)
St Andrews Links Trust has completed the acquisition of land from Easter Kincaple Farm, which sits adjacent to the western extremity of the Links.

The three field, which have been used as farmland, represent a strategic investment by the Trust as part of ongoing sustainability, land and coastal management activity to protect and maintain the future of the Links.

Occupying the area between the northern side of the A91 and the coastline of the Eden Estuary, the land has been identified as a potential ingress point for coastal erosion and flooding. The acquisition allows the Trust to incorporate the land and the coastline into its strategic planning.

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Over the past 15 years, it has undertaken significant dune restoration work on the West Sands amounting to the largest and longest-running dune restoration programme in Scotland as well as beach feeding and salt marsh planning on the Eden coastline which have provided protection against coastal erosion across the Links.

The acquisition of the land was completed in early 2024 and as part of the deal, it will remain in use for agricultural purposes for the foreseeable future.

Neil Coulson, chief executive, said: “As we are seeing elsewhere in Scotland and throughout the world, the threat of coastal erosion is not only an issue that we have to plan for in future years but something which is already having an impact on coastal communities and facilities.

“Not only does this land allow us to add to our coastal defences it also helps protect against any potential future development by third parties. We have no immediate plans for development of the land other than to enhance coastal erosion mitigations.

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“However, while the decision to purchase has primarily been taken on environmental grounds to combat coastal erosion, it may offer opportunities for future expansion of the Links and its facilities in years to come.”

Ranald Strachan, lead West Sands ranger at St Andrews Links Trust described last winter as “a challenging one” with a number of storms, high tides and easterly winds impacting restoration efforts.

He added: “There is no doubt we are in a much stronger position than we would be due to the dune restoration work and coastal management that has been undertaken over the past 15 years.”

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