A newly formed Environmental group from the University of Ulster, Coleraine, enjoyed the winter sun for an afternoon on the East Strand, Portrush, helping the Coleraine Conservation Action Team in their ongoing efforts to restore eroded sections of the well-loved dune system.
The students are keen to gain some practical conservation skills whilst making a valuable contribution by volunteering their help.
The dunes suffer quite serious damage during the summer months from recreational pursuits. The resulting denuded areas become blowholes during heavy winds with serious loss of sand from the dune system inland. Marram Grass is pulled from well-clothed areas on the leeward side of the dunes and transplanted in the exposed areas.
Forest brashing is used to provide cover for the newly transplanted grasses to give them a chance to become established.
The dunes provide the frontage to the Royal Portrush Golf Course and the club has been proactive in commissioning, funding and assisting the work of Conservation Volunteers who put in around 1,200 volunteer hours here each winter.
The extra hours contributed by the students were much appreciated. Support from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency also helps sustain the work of the team throughout the north east, especially in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.