Family Nature Trail
Seafield and Doonfoot
The area of low sand dunes between the promenade and the beach is full of interesting
wildlife including birds, insects, snails, mosses and fungi, as well as over 100
kinds of flowering plants. What you find depends on weather and time of year. The
beach is excellent for shells and cast-up seaweeds. In a few places, the living
shells and growing seaweeds may be seen.
PLEASE LEAVE THE PLANTS AND ANIMALS WHERE YOU FIND THEM
Start at the Beaches Cafe at Seafield at the Northern end of the
large public car park. Cars may be left in small free car park if you are visiting
Walk along the promenade in the direction of Doonfoot. Look over
the low wall. The commonest plant is the tall sea lyme grass with its stiff bluish-green
leaves and fat spike of yellow-green flowers. There are few patches of marram grass
which has stiff rolled leaves. Both these grasses help to bind the sand. Also very
common is the tall sea radish with its lemon-yellow flowers and strange pods containing
a few large seeds. On the sand near the wall there may be a patch or two of lower
growing sea rocket with pale mauve flowers. Another very common seashore plant is
wild carrot with its tiny white flowers grouped into an umbrella shape, often hollow
in the middle. The leaves are finely cut and the plant grows to a height of about
half a metre. The large white daisy with fine leaves is Sea mayweed. Other plants
in this area include tall curled dock, plenty of
dandelions and the low-growing bird's foot trefoil.
Next turn down the first concrete slope onto the path which runs
between the promenade and the beach and turn left. The metre high bushy plant is
mugwort. As well as low-growing plants of many kinds you will pass bushes of prickly
whins (gorse), dark green broom and large patches of the attractive deep-pink Rosa
Notice how it spreads by means of branches and seedlings from the
big red hips seen in the late summer. Many different birds visit these bushes, of
which the most prominent is the stonechat. Look for tiny plants growing close to
the ground like stonecrop with its chubby water-storing leaves and yellow star-like
flowers, mosses of several kinds, the leathery-looking black dog lichen with its
white under surface and at some times of year toad stools and puffballs.
Now you are right amongst the plants you can look for the insects
and snails which live amongst them. On a dry sunny day there will be plenty of insects,
such as butterflies, beetles, hoverflies and bumble bees visiting the flowers for
nectar and pollen. On a damp day, especially early in the morning, there are usually
plenty of snails, including the large garden snails and the attractive banded or
brown-lipped snails which exist in many colour varieties and patterns. If you are
not fortunate enough to see the living snails, look for their empty shells on patches
of bare ground. Sometimes you find ones which have probably by song thrushes.
Opposite the third concrete slope, turn right on the path to the
beach. This passes through a dense growth of sea lyme grass and leads out on to
the beach beside a stagnant burn and the remains of brick and concrete buildings.
If the tide is out the low rocks will be exposed, on which several kinds of seaweeds
grow and limpets, barnacles and periwinkles live.
Turn to the right, back towards Seafield and follow the strandline
which marks the position of high tide and where seaweeds and other marine life lie
stranded (very often jelly fish). Stir up some of the seaweed with a stick to disturb
sandhoppers and seaweed flies. Turn the seaweed back to protect them. On the seaward
side of this you can find up to twenty or so different kinds of shells.
There will be guided walks along this trail once a month from May to September.
See notices at the Beaches Cafe for dates and times.
For more information contact:
Burns Statue Square
Telephone: (01292) 616673