Gems in the Dunes has now finished - see what the project achieved here

Sefton is home to
of the Uk's Sea Bryum
sefton is home to
of the uk's natterjacks
Sefton has
of the uk's northern dune tiger beetles

What is the habitat of Gems in the Dunes?

Sand dunes are wonderful places, but they are very fragile. The dunes of the Sefton Coast, stretching from Southport to Seaforth, form the largest undeveloped dune system in England. They are home to some real gems, including one of our rarest reptiles, the colourful Sand Lizard, and the scarce Natterjack, a charming little toad. There are also many other special plants and invertebrates, all depending on the dunes.

Why is this habitat at risk?

Sand dune systems are extremely vulnerable to a number of pressures. These include urban development, overgrowth of vegetation and frequent human disturbance. Unfortunately, many of the species that live in the dunes need very specific conditions to exist. All of this means that a significant number of species face extinction here if the dunes are lost to them.

How we helped save Sefton's threatened wildlife

This Back from the Brink project, led by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, worked with key partners and landowners along the Sefton Coast, to carry out various habitat management tasks. These directly improved the quality of the habitat for Natterjacks, Sand Lizards, the impressive Northern Dune Tiger Beetle and many others.

Vital to all of this was helping the public to recognise the importance and vulnerability of the dunes. We offered a range of activities to get them interested and involved, including monitoring, habitat management, walks, talks and a whole host more!

If you would like to find out more about the work that we did then check out our project report.

How to get involved

Gems in the Dunes has now come to an end, but there are still plenty of ways to help out on the coast. Local partners such as, North Merseyside Amphibian and Reptile Group (NMARG), Natural England, National Trust, Sefton Council and the Wildlife Trusts for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside have a variety of volunteer opportunities available.

Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis) Male on dune system at Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Merseyside, UK. April. Photographed under licence. Photographer: Alex Hyde
Northern Dune Tiger Beetle (Cicindela hybrida) on dune system, regualting temperature by standing high off the sand to stay cool. Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Merseyside, UK. May. Photographer: Alex Hyde
Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita), Sefton Coast,  Merseyside, UK. April. Photographed under licence against a white background in mobile field studio. Photographer: Alex Hyde
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Project contact

Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust

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