As Duncan was climbing the dunes along Druridge Bay to look back on the East Chevington nature reserve BBC Radio 4 was broadcasting a programme on sand dunes in Wales. It may have been a long time coming but, at last, it seems that the idea that dunes move and blow around is being accepted and that dune stabilisation is no longer seen as a good thing. The snag, of course, is that other stuff now gets in the way of moving dunes, things like villages and roads. At least Druridge Bay has fewer of these constraints than may occur elsewhere, so perhaps these dunes can be allowed to do what they want to do and, in turn, help protect the coast.
The coast holds significant archaeology: peat layers contain ancient artefacts and more recent World War II history; old buildings appear from the dunes, ephemeral by the very nature of where they are built. Still strung out along the beach is the line of square blocks to help stop an amphibious landing.
The unseasonable weather makes it easy to forget it is so early in the year; the lack of leaves on trees, just the early hint of green, seems so out of place in the warm sunshine. The limited range of flowers in bloom is a much-needed reminder of March. Colt’s-foot was showing its bright yellow daisy heads and the blackthorn was out in full bloom in the hedges and thickets. In the fields the early spikes of horsetails were just emerging from out of the top of old molehills. These common horsetails (Equisetum arvense) cause quite a lot of confusion in this somewhat ‘other worldly’ state, the subject of many questions over the years and requests to help with identification.