Thursday, 30 July 2020

Help us keep Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve a refuge for wildlife

As we transition out of lockdown with many people choosing ‘staycations’ over travelling abroad the pressures on our coastline are likely to be far greater than ever before. 

This is something that we are acutely aware of at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve and the last few weeks have proved to be much busier than normal with incidences of dogs off leads and littering a far too common occurrence. Here are a few key rules to follow when entering the Reserve to allow pleasant visit for you, others and the wildlife that the Reserve supports. A full list of the byelaws can be found in the codes of conduct tab on the website.
Litter left on the Reserve

 ·         Keep dogs on leads at all times on the Reserve – The Reserve is from mean high water to the sea so that means keeping dogs on leads on all beaches and intertidal areas across the this area. The main reason for this is disturbance of breeding, feeding and roosting birds. This restriction is year round and isn’t just for the breeding season.

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve supports nationally important numbers of breeding shorebirds that use our beaches to rear their young. Some of these birds travel from as far away as Africa to breed here. There are many pressures on these birds such as habitat loss and climate change but the biggest threat is human and dog disturbance. These birds are masters of camouflage with eggs that blend in perfectly to the environment so many people don’t realise that they are causing any issues. To keep this to a minimum we ask that you follow a few simple rules.
o   Keep dogs on short leads
o   Walk along the wet hard sand  – birds will nest in the dry soft sand above the high tide line
o   Keep a wide berth of protective netting
o   Keep a wide berth of any roosting birds – repeated disturbance means that they may not survive the migration to their wintering grounds.

·         Read all signs before entering the Reserve – At each main access point on the Reserve there will be signs informing you of any restrictions that may be in place such as breeding areas and any warnings of things to watch out for such as Pirri-pirri bur. Too often we see people walk straight past these signs and ignore the warnings.

·        No wild camping or fires Since lockdown has eased there has been a surge of interest in wild camping. This seems like a perfect time to remind people that wild camping is not permitted anywhere on the Reserve – this includes motorhomes. There are many designated camping sites that surround the Reserve where you can still enjoy the tranquillity of North Northumberland coast.
 Any campfires or BBQ’s are not permitted anywhere on the Reserve. We have had incidences of wildfires caused by BBQ’s that have destroyed large swathes of sand dune habitat. Duneland grasses can get tinder dry during the summer and only require an errant spark to ignite. These fires can get out of control very quickly.

Please get out and enjoy the Reserves beautiful coastline but adhere to the bye-laws so you can enjoy it in a way that still preserves our habitats and allows wildlife to thrive.

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