Working with Dynamic Dunescapes at Sandscale

View across the beach from Sandscale sand dunes in stormy skies

Coastal Dunes of England and Wales are internationally important habitats for wildlife and are one of the most threatened habitats in Europe for their biodiversity. That’s why we’re taking part in the Dynamic Dunescapes project to help restore sand dunes at Sandscale Haws.

Dynamic Dunescapes is a national project restoring sand dunes across England and Wales for the benefit of wildlife but also for the benefit of people and local communities. It’s funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU life Programme.

The leading partners for the project in Cumbria include Natural England, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and National Trust. The project is working across 11 sites in Cumbria from Silloth to Walney Island, including Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve. 

Sandscale is home to a large population of natterjack toads, one of the UK’s rarest and protected amphibians. It also supports a highly diverse range of plants, including the nationally scarce dune helleborine. However, since the 1940’s, the amount of bare sand dropped from 34% to less than 2%, natterjack pools are becoming overgrown with vegetation and an increase in scrub is outcompeting plants in dune grassland. 

Dynamic Dunescapes will be working closely with the conservation team at the National Trust to help restore the sand dunes at Sandscale Haws.

What will Dunescapes do to help wildlife at Sandscale Haws?

1. Carefully remove invasive Rosa rugosa (also known as Beach Rose) and hawthorn scrub to help more specialist plants to flourish. Some scrub will be kept as breeding bird habitat.

2. Create and restore ponds to make them more suitable for natterjack toads.

3. Remove areas of turf and scrub to create some bare patches of sand for rare species.

4. Keep access open for you to carry on enjoying the dunes.

The project will create a range of opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved. As part of a national citizen science scheme, we will be training volunteers to help monitor the dunes at Sandscale Haws to help inform on future sand dune management. Eve Mulholland, Engagement Officer for Dynamic Dunescapes, working for Cumbria wildlife Trust, is leading on creating a range of opportunities from working with schools to creating volunteer days to running events on the dunes. 

You can find out more about Dynamic Dunescapes by visiting:


Find out what’s on, how you can volunteer or get involved, visit: 

Dynamic Dunescape