A day on the Durham Coast

Brushed up on my brushcutting skills this morning, cutting back the coastal footpath near Seaham, alongside Blast Beach. A very sweaty task indeed!

In a pond just off the footpath we found a surprisingly large amount of Tadpoles and a number of Smooth Newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) popping up to the ponds surface.

In the afternoon we made our way to the nearby Limekiln Gill at Horden and removed some of the Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) there – another extremely invasive and fast spreading species that can prevent native vegetation from growing.

Afterwards, we made our way down to Horden beach spotting on our way the striking Six-spot Burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) and it’s caterpillar, a Owl Pellet (which had inside what appeared to be the front teeth of a small mammal), as well as a Sand Martin nesting bank (which was particularly impressive, especially when watching the birds flying in and out of the holes in the cliff side at high speed).

Horden beach has seen many changes over the last century. Large quantities of colliery waste used to be dumped onto the beach from Horden pit, severely polluting the beach and it’s sea life. The colliery closed in 1986, and in 1997 the Turning the Tide Project, with help from local communities, began to transform the coast to try and re-discover its special value. Nature is a great healer and the sea continues it’s healing process by removing the colliery waste, which is beginning to restore rock pools and bring sea life back to the shores.

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Chris | National Trust

Chris | National Trust

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