New environmental project planned to help protect vulnerable sand dunes from erosion.

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CHRISTMAS trees are often recycled, but the aftermath of this festive season will see a small forest of used trees replanted at Croyde beach as part of a crucial environmental project.

Beach goers will not be shaded by nodding pines, however, because the dead trees are to be bundled together and “planted” under the sand dunes at the top of the beach to help prevent their constant erosion.

The project is being led by Park Dean Holidays, which owns the beach and it has enlisted the help of nearby primary schools to act as collection points for the discarded trees.

Norman Dennis at Ruda Holiday Park is co-ordinating the scheme and explained how the trees are bundled together, buried in the dunes lying down and then marram grass planted between the bundles to bind it all together.

“The damage to the dunes is caused by erosion but also the number of people using the dunes,” he explained.

“If this were left for another 10 years many a field would be flooded in Croyde. The dunes are under threat and we as land owners have to do something about it.”

Georgeham Primary School plus those of Caen, Southmead and Kingsacre in Braunton are taking part in the scheme and have arranged collection points for the recycled trees.

“We have been delighted how keen the schools have been to take part,” said Norman.

“A dead Christmas tree has wonderful sand holding properties so it’s a very green and environmentally friendly exercise.

“The trees do two things – stop people running through them while the grass gets established, plus it holds the sand long enough that the wind doesn’t blow the roots away.”

Once established, the grass develops an extensive root system that plays a key part in binding the sand dune together.

In the new year groups from each school will be joining Ruda staff to “plant” their trees amongst the dunes.

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