MAGical Coast

MAGical Coast cpt Durham WildlifeTrustMAGical Coast cpt Durham WildlifeTrust

safeguarding internationally important wildlife and attracting visitors

Durham Wildlife Trust

360 view

A lifesaving plan for the MAGical magnesium limestone coast, which will safeguard its internationally important wildlife and attract visitors to this little-known area.

Magnesian limestone grassland is an extremely restricted habitat type – there are just 200 hectares in existence and two-thirds of this is found in County Durham. However, coastal erosion is sweeping away the grassland perched on the cliff edges. Durham Wildlife Trust is working with partners to create the right conditions to allow coastal plant communities to retreat back as the cliffs erode. This will create 200 hectares of flower-rich meadows along an eight kilometre coastal strip.

Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane

360 view

What's happening?

  • Work by the organisations involved will allow the plants on the cliffs to spread back away from the eroding cliffs and encourage wildlife to follow.
  • Grazing by native cattle will create the correct conditions for wildlife-rich grassland and provide an alternative income source for landowners.
  • We will set up fencing, water supplies, tracks etc. and provide assistance in promoting and marketing the produce from livestock grazing the Durham coastal area.
  • Connecting habitat will allow the restricted the Durham Argus butterfly to travel between patches of suitable habitat and become better established.

Start date: 2009

Scheme area: 200 hectares

Trust reserves within the scheme

Part of Hawthorne Dean and Blackhall Rocks

This scheme is helping species including...

Lady, slipper, bee and frog orchids; rockrose, bloody cranesbill, thrift, knapweeds, yellow wort, grass of parnassus, bird's eye primrose; northern brown argus butterfly, glow worm, bumble bees, barn & short eared owls, kittiwake, skylark and grey partridge.

Current threats to the landscape

Coastal erosion (the land is currently being lost at about half a metre per year but this is likely to accelerate as sea levels rise as a result of climate change), agricultural encroachment, undergrazing and anti-social behaviour.

This scheme is also...

Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, improving access for people, providing recreational opportunities, encouraging green tourism.


Local Authorities, National Trust, Durham Heritage Coast.

To find out more

Email:  | Tel: 0191 5843112 | MAGical Coast

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