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Dozens bury Christmas trees in Porthtowan dunes

By WBEsme  |  Posted: January 14, 2014

  • Cornwall Councillor Joyce Duffin and Perranzabuloe Parish Councillor Mark O'Brien with a tree ready to be buried on the dunes.

  • Nine year old Jamie from Troon buries his family Christmas tree.

  • A volunteer drags trees across the sand ready to be buried in the dunes at Porthtowan Beach.

  • Mike Hawkey helps to position the trees.

  • Some of the 500 donated to the dunes project.

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Porthtowan's dunes were the site of unusual activity last weekend as dozens descended to bury their unwanted Christmas trees.

Despite the controversy surrounding the Cornwall Council scheme, more than 100 people turned out to dig their dead firs in to the sand.

Armed with shovels, the volunteers worked throughout the afternoon to stabilise the eroding dunes with buried trees.

Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Councillor for Mount Hawke and Portreath, said: “It was so nice to see lots of people come out and give up their time as well as their Christmas trees to help with what is the first stage of the dune stabilisaton works.

“It was such a lovely community atmosphere and great to see the beach, cafés and the whole area full of people who had come down to do their bit in the sunshine.”

The tree burial is the first of an ongoing project which will see Marram grass planted among the dead trees in the spring to provide further support and natural habitats for animals.

It is also hoped that upcoming discussions will lead to approval for works to move sand from the village green back on to the beach.

“Burying the trees to help trap the sand is just the start of the process. This will be followed up with moving some sand back onto the beach, once the appropriate permission have been secured, and then planting Marram grass in the spring,” Cllr Duffin added.

Cornwall Council has warned that at times sections of the dune will be cordoned off to give the Christmas tree scheme the best chance of success.

But not everybody is in support of the project.

The Porthtowan Dunes Group has raised concerns over the visual impact of the buried trees on local businesses and the potential health and safety issues.

Chris Smith, a business and property owner in Porthtowan, said: “The people who are suffering down there are the people who are running businesses.

“I’ve got one business owner who’s view has been completely ruined by half dead raggedy Christmas trees.”

Mr Smith, who also owns the road which runs parallel to the beach, added that his heart sinks at the sight of the trees on the beach.

Owner of the Porthtowan Beach Café, Heather Jones, is also upset at the appearance of the buried Christmas trees.

She said: “it seriously affects me and my business and I don’t feel like I have been informed of anything.”

“I think the village has been made in to a bit of a laughing stock.”

A meeting to discuss the scheme will take place next Wednesday from 7pm in Porthtowan Village Hall.

All local residents are welcome. The Porthtowan Dunes group and representatives from Cornwall Council will also be in attendance.

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