This summer, hundreds of wildlife lovers and nature experts will help the National Trust to carry out its largest ever survey of coastal wildlife as part of the conservation charity’s year-long celebrations of the coast.
24 places along the 775 miles of coastline looked after by the National Trust across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will host a BioBlitz, a race against the clock involving rangers, experts and members of the public to record as many different species as possible.
A 25th BioBlitz will also be held at Kinver Edge in Staffordshire. Although land locked, this beautiful sandstone escarpment was once formed of ancient sand dunes and the survey will help uncover how some coastal wildlife can live away from the sea.
Everyone who gets involved in the BioBlitzes will be looking for wildlife and discovering nature found in rock pools, sand dunes, woodland and heathland around the coast.
David Bullock, Head of Nature Conservation for the National Trust, said: “We know that people visit Trust properties on the coast because they are so beautiful. But we also know that many would like to get under the skin of what is there; the special plants and animals that call it home.
“Our coastal BioBlitzes offer a unique opportunity for experts to tell us more about the wildlife that is on our coasts, and for visitors to learn more about what is in the rock pools and mud, and what can be found flying around at night.”
All discoveries will be submitted to local wildlife record centres and the National Biodiversity Network to help understand how wildlife along the coast is changing. The findings will also help to determine the conservation management needs of each property.
While 24 of the National Trust’s BioBlitzes are still to take place, the first was held at Cwm Tydu, Ceredigion in early April.
Gwen Potter, Area Ranger on the National Trust’s Llanerchaeron estate who led the surveying team, said: “Our BioBlitz was a true adventure, with howling winds nearly blowing our tents into the sea and typical four season weather in one day.
“The families that joined us foraged in mud, dipped in streams and crawled on rocky shores to help us get great records, including the chunky black oil beetle, peregrine falcon and strawberry beadlet anemone.
“One of our experts found a lichen, Roccella phycopsis, at its furthest northern extent, and records like this help to map out species response to climate change. Because we did our BioBlitz in April, we found a few firsts for the year – the summer ones may uncover even more species.”
The BioBlitzes are part of the National Trust’s year of celebrations along the coastline making 50 years since the launch of the Neptune Coastline Campaign .
As well as BioBlitzes, the Trust will also be partnering up with Butterfly Conservation during the summer to carry out surveys of butterflies and moths on the coastline as part of the annual Big Butterfly Count. People will be encouraged to count butterflies in coastal places, between 17th July and 9th August, with the focus of the survey on the Common Blue to discover whether it thrives better closer to the sea than inland.
More than £65 million has been raised through Neptune over the last 50 years, enabling the National Trust to protect and care for some of the most beautiful, environmentally significant and historically valuable stretches of coastline.
For more information on the National Trust BioBlitzes, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bioblitz