Phil Smith: Strandline vascular plants at Ainsdale

Ainsdale Strandline


I thought I would spend a couple of hours on 3rd September recording the variety of strandline plants north of Ainsdale-on-Sea. This habitat is the best I have seen for at least ten years.

I covered about 500m opposite what are known as the 'Even Newer Green Beach' and the 'Newest Green Beach' north of the carpark.

The total of 83 vascular taxa confirms the exceptional richness of the strandline this year. I may well have missed a few. They consist of a mix of maritime, ruderal and freshwater wetland species. Unsurprisingly, the much longer Newest Green Beach section supported more species (74) than the shorter Even Newer Green Beach (49). The latter is also much more impacted by recreational trampling.

Only seven plants (8.4%) are non-native, a much smaller proportion than the 40% for the dune system as a whole. The same number is regionally or nationally notable, this also being a small number compared with 17.5% notable taxa for the dunes.

I didn't find any Salsola kali (Prickly Saltwort), a regular component of strandline vegetation on the Sefton Coast. Maybe it will appear later. Another to look out for is Atriplex glabriuscula (Babington's Orache). I have seen this species along this stretch in the past but it is a challenge to identify amongst the abundant A. prostrata (Spear-leaved Orache).

To check out Phil's findings in more detail, including a species list:

Click Here