Life after Christmas – how old trees and your time are helping to protect Formby’s sand dunes

Old Christmas trees might not be the most obvious answer for helping to protect sand dunes, but that’s just what National Trust Rangers are using to improve the stability of Formby’s sand dunes.

Over the past few years, thousands of recycled Christmas trees have been used to build sand trap fences and provide better conditions for the growth of Marram grass, which protects a vulnerable part of this internationally important sand dune habitat. 

National Trust Rangers and volunteers – including four-legged volunteers – digging in their trees last year.

Following the growing success of the initiative, National Trust Rangers are calling for volunteers to help build the protective fences. On Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 January between 10am and 1pm the team at Formby is inviting people to bring along their cut Christmas trees and plant them with the Rangers or to help plant others that have been donated. The Rangers are hoping to plant around 2,500 unwanted trees in January, which is enough to make ½ mile of sand fences – trees of 4 to 6 ft are the ideal height.

Andrew Brockbank, National Trust Countryside Manager at Formby said: ‘This is a great way to recycle your Christmas tree. Dune fences will not stop erosion, but they do help the dunes to build up and restore stability which is good for wildlife and good for coastal protection. The mobile dunes are an important part of the sea defence at Formby.’ 

For further information please contact the National Trust Countryside Office on 01704 878591 or email or see:

If you’d like to donate your old Christmas tree, you can bring them along to the National Trust at Victoria Road between 9am to 4pm any day during the first two weeks in January.


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