Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve
PUBLISHED: 09:57 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:49 14 May 2015
Brought ashore by water and wind, the sand of the dunes is gradually tamed by marram grass. Once stable, the dunes support many other plants.
Early forget-me-nots are among those that hug the ground and need little water. Many insects appreciate this environment, including ‘woolly bears’ (tiger moth caterpillars). Dark green fritillary and grayling butterflies bask in the sun in July and August. Big brown-lipped snails are also found.
During autumn and winter cattle and sheep perform an essential function in keeping rank grasses and scrub well grazed as well as grazing invasive species such as pirri-pirri bur and michaelmass daisy. This allows many rarer plants to establish.
In early summer, the purple northern marsh orchid flourishes along with its pinker relation, the early marsh orchid. In July marsh helleborines flower by the thousand forming spectacular white carpets.