Latest phase of West Sands dunes restoration under way

The fourth phase of restoration work at St Andrews West Sands dunes gets under way
The fourth phase of restoration work at St Andrews West Sands dunes gets under way

The fourth phase of work to preserve the dunes at St Andrews famous West Sands is under way – and this weekend everyone can lend a hand.

One of the bodies involved in restoring the dunes, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) is asking volunteers to join themtomorrow (Saturday) to help transplant marram grass from other areas of the dunes in order to help stabilise new sand deposits.

It’s six years since March storms meant that a substantial quantity of sand in the dunes was lost and, while some parts have recovered, a few areas have remained vulnerable to further erosion.

Now sand is being taken from the beach to to carry out the necessary repair work to the dunes, and fencing around the dunes is to be renewed to allow the area to naturally replenish and grow without any interruptions by foot traffic.

The work is being led by the Links Trust with support from FCCT and the West Sands Partnership.

The West Sands Partnership (WSP) is a collaborative group led by the Links Trust, Fife Council, FCCT, The R&A, Scottish National Heritage and St Andrews University. The WSP is responsible for steering the project and ensuring West Sands beach is restored to the greatest possible standard.

Gordon Moir, Director of Greenkeeping, St Andrews Links Trust said: “The historic, recreational and economic value of the West Sands and surrounding area to St Andrews makes it vitally important they are protected.

“We are delighted to be part of the West Sands Partnership, which brings together many strands of expertise and know-how, and has proven to be a great example of collaborative working.

“As the winter months have shown, we are not immune to the strong winds and high tides so it is important that this work continues. We have spent three days working on the dunes with six staff repairing damage to the blow outs. We will look to continue this work and would like to thank our partners and the community for their continued support.”

Ranald Strachan, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust Ranger, said: “The repair works at West Sands have been long awaited, and are vital to help ensure the sand dunes along the beach are safe to the public. We have been working closely with the Links Trust to ensure the process goes smoothly, and are delighted to offer our support in helping to make sure the dunes are restored towards their natural state.

“The fourth phase of the works will utilise funds from The Open legacy project in order to protect and support the blowout restoration. Sand dunes can help protect the beach and surrounding area from erosion, so it’s vital that we work together with the WSP to support the Links Trust in ensuring they are repaired to a high standard.”

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at the R&A, said: “Sustainable management of the environment around the West Sands is extremely important and we are delighted that through the success of The Open we can support this restoration work. We know the Championship brings direct economic benefit to St Andrews and Scotland as a whole but it also enables us to achieve lasting environmental benefits for the town.”

If you want to get involved on Saturday, contact FCCT ranger Ranald Strachan on 01592 656080.