Dorset Wildlife Trust is inviting volunteers to search for some of Dorset’s most secret coastal wildlife, revealed by one of the lowest tides of the year. The Welly Zone Volunteer Event will be a chance to comb Lyme Regis beach for the often neglected and little known wildlife of the ‘welly zone’ and contribute to this important survey of Dorset’s coasts.
Increasing knowledge of habitats and wildlife
The 3-year Welly Zone Project, started one year ago and funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s Sustainable Development Fund, involves local people in finding out about the wildlife of the beach and shallow water habitats of our coast. All of the records are being used to increase knowledge both of the habitats themselves and of wildlife further out to sea, adding to Dorset’s marine biodiversity database.
The ‘welly zone’ stretches from the back of the beach, where strandline debris is deposited by waves, down to the shallow margins of the sea accessible with Wellington boots an area both overlooked and under-studied. Highlights from volunteers’ records in 2011 include abundant honeycomb worm at Eype, a tree trunk covered in thousands of goose barnacles washed up at West Bay, common and soprano pipistrelle bats feeding along the strandline at Osmington Mills, a rare rockpool beetle Ochthebius lejolisii living at Portland Bill, 107 empty shark and ray egg cases collected in one hour at Swanage and an oceanic sunfish just 200m from the beach at West Bay.
So much to learn
Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “We've already learnt so much in the first year of the Welly Zone Project, thanks to volunteers getting out on their local beaches and telling us what they've seen. With more eyes and ears out on the coast we're very excited to see what else we can discover this year."
The Welly Zone Volunteer Event is at Lyme Regis on Sunday 11th March. Meet at 12 noon in front of the beach huts on Monmouth beach (west of The Cobb) at Grid Reference SY335915. For more information ring 01929 481044. The event may require walking on uneven rocks & boulders. There will be a Beach Survey Pack to take away so you can record finds whenever you are out on the beaches.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Julie Hatcher at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01929 481044.
About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
For our latest news RSS feed, see /c2/rss/dwt_latest_news.xml
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Seaweeds of a Dorset Rockpool byPeter Tinsley
Honeycomb worm found during a Welly Zone survey at Eype by Julie Hatcher
Wellies on for Seashore Wildlife by Rupert Halden