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Conservation work due to get underway at Benone Strand and Downhill

Conservation work due to get underway at Benone Strand and Downhill

Wed, October 24, 2018

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is working in partnership with Northern Ireland Environment Agency to help manage some of our most sensitive and well-loved coastal sites.

Following a busy summer season some practical conservation works are now planned for Magilligan Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) which is one of the largest dune land systems in the UK and Ireland.

Magilligan ASSI includes a diversity of rare sand dune habitats.

At present parts of the site are considered to be in ‘unfavourable’ condition.

Building on previous work at Castlerock beach and dune land, which falls within the Bann Estuary ASSI and SAC, a number of practical works have been identified for Benone Strand and Downhill which include:

  • The removal of invasive Sea Buckthorn
  • Installation of wind breaks to minimise sand loss
  • Installation of fencing to minimise visitor impact on the most sensitive embryo dunes
  • Replanting of marram grass

These conservation measures will directly contribute to the draft program for government target for lands under favourable management at Magilligan SAC/ASSI.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Brenda Chivers said: “Council and NIEA recognise that the beach and dune land at Benone Strand is very popular with visitors throughout the year. The proposed works balance the recreational demands with the conservation objectives specific to this valuable beach site. This partnership approach is key to meeting conservation objectives and improving the condition of the dune land as well as continuing to allow visitors to enjoy a very special place.”

The cost of the capital works is being met through NIEA.

The project is scheduled to begin in November 2018 and should be completed before Christmas.

Visitors will be able to continue to access and enjoy the beach for the duration of the planned works.

Wooden post fencing and rope detail similar to this at Castlerock Beach will form part of the conservation work at Benone and Downhill.