Photograph 1a. Martin Pullan (2018). Showing Allonby Beach and a view of the Scottish Coastline. Intertidal estuary with a Type B2 Character Classification.
Allonby Conservation Area
David, et al. (2003), identified that glacial melts formed the Solway Coast and Allonby which is situated off the Cree/Nith Valleys. The Firth locally at this time was full of gritty/jagged glacial rocks which travelled down from the valleys. Historically around 15,000 years ago the sea level would have been 25 metres higher than present day.
Around 7000 years ago the formation of saltmarshes and extensive mudflats were formed. The Solway narrowed as the topography developed in turn; salt resisting flora, shrubs and trees grew. As the sea level receded alder trees developed within the local area. As the years passed by evidence detailed the arrival of willow, oak, birch and alder trees. David, et al. (2003). Appendicies1b. identifies the receding sea levels from the glacial melts.
Historically, around 5000 years ago, the sea level was 10 feet higher than seen today. The area is of great importance as settlers began to uncover various artefacts detailing the existence of communities near the coastal pathway. Over time the sea level has now dropped to its present level. Appendices 1c. Environmental changes have further changed the local area with pebbles, and sediments deposited from the estuary. Many of the Solway Ports require regular dredging of the mud accumulations. On the beach, there are a vast array of coloured pebbles in various sizes. Allonby bay has significant granular granite (Felsic igneous) rocks surrounded by slate from Skiddaw (Metamorphosed sedimentary rock from the Early Ordovician period). Other rock types include Siliceous rocks (igneous), sandstone (sedimentary), and feldspar. David, et al. (2003).
Typically, the rocks located in Allonby are of a typical classification, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. They come from the mountain regions of the Lake District. Davis, R. V. (1977, p5-7) Further data about this is detailed in appendices 1g, Tables showing the geological data of Allonby Bay. Allenby beach also contains further outcrops of metamorphic, sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Meltwaters of the valleys gradually ground the moving rocks. The sand, silt and pebbles are a mix of sedimentary, metamorphic and volcanic rock. Gravel banks contain various named stones ranging from Nellie, Maston, Pintle and a locally named Hanging Stone. These high deposits are seen scattered along the beach. David, et al. (2003).
Allonby is of a high conservation interest with many types of species located within the area. The role of the protection zone is to protect the area and its marine wildlife. The beach is made up of intertidal sand/mud flats providing ideal habitats for razor clams (Solenidae), piddocks (Pholadidae), shrimp (Caridea), worms (Acanthocephala) and sea snails (Gastropoda). Collins. (2012). According to Land Use Consultants (2010) there is a historic conservation order dating back to 1956, it was classed as an area of natural beauty (AONB). This AONB runs along the raised beaches and intertidal flats up to the Outer Solway Firth. Land Use Consultants (2010)
This seascape estuary is classed within category Type A as it is closer to the sea. With its capsular land masses of mud/sand composition. Running alongside the beach, are the see the dunes and saltmarshes. Extensive wave erosion is evident in this area. Dense pebble strata are noted along the cliff habitats. The seaward edge has a classification of subtype 1a, Intertidal Flats. Appendices 1d.
Land Use Consultants (2010) further highlights Allonby beach AONB, has an extensive estuarine ecosystem ranging from sand/silt composition and vast areas of intertidal flats. High tides cause erosion cycles and deposition of pebbles and waste material from the Irish sea. Most of the mudflats are exposed depending on the tidal path. To the edges of the beach, exist vast landscapes of acidic dune heaths with heather. Allonby Bay is also under a Marine Conservation Zone and protected under government policy.
Policies are in place to ensure the area is safe, healthy and clean. Allonby Bay is of significant interest with the honeycomb worm and mussel beds. The living reef is formed by long sand tubes constructed by the worms. Appendices 1.e. Providing living habitats for many species of the snails (Gastropods), crabs (Decapods), seaweeds, and anemones. Intertidal muddy/sand beaches are home to shrimp, sand hoppers, snails, and worms buried below the surfaces. The outcrops of peat along the shoreline provide an ideal habitat for the piddocks and burrowing clams.
The importance of these protected zones is that they are part of a UK / international conservation of protected sites. Conservation within these areas provides a turnkey development ensuring that the policies protect rare and diverse species along with their habitats. In conclusion, Allonby has a dedicated marine reef which enriches the rewilding of the honeycomb worm reefs. Sand tubes from the worms build the worm-like structure. These can be in the region of many meters wide. A reef development is a home for other species like the anemones and snails. Crabs and Seaweed (macroalgae) often dominate them. The human role within these zones as seen in Appendices 1.f, shows the large, diverse uses and controls we have put in place within the UK Shores. These help us protect and regulate the zones ensuring that the species and habitats can continue to thrive. Land Use Consultants (2010)
The marine reefs protected from tides hold back many of the waves in tidal storms. Human interaction and the development of Shoreline Management Plans (SMP’s) allow the natural enhancement of the conservation within this area. The maintenance of existing sea defences and reinforcement of these in the designated flood areas. The infrastructure of the marine ecology governed by management policies for cultural and national interests. The dunes and heathland also fall under the conservation area with continued preservation of the salt plains. Land Use Consultants (2010)
The fields inland from Allonby beach consist of undulating arable land of glacial till. Across the topography, there is small winding becks and flood defences infrastructure. Farmland becomes a natural community along the coastal region. Tall hedge banks and woodland separate the connection from the coastline to the land. The formation of kests is evident as we can see the distinctive ditches and hedgerows. Cultural, historical features begin to emerge from the roman outlets along the coastline. Land Use Consultants (2010)
Land Use Consultants (2010) further identified developments with the renewable industry towards offshore wind farms would have a human effect upon Allonby. Changing the local farming industry and inhibit the AONB's skyline views of the beaches. Climate changes are an increased risk for the conservation zone by rising sea levels and storm flooding/damages. Directly impacting the coastal heath and causing further widespread erosion and flooding. Taking these views in a serious nature, a Management Plan is now in force for the NW Coastline Protecting the ANOB's landscape characteristics.
Across the bay, large numbers of birds ranging from waders (Charadriiforms) which are live near shorelines) and gulls (Larus canus). Across the pebble patched areas, mussel beds and reefs support the feeding waders and wildlife. The dunes provide sustained ecological interest and biodiversity. Typical flora includes: pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), clovers (Trifolium), pyramidal orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), lady’s bedstraw Galium verum), kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) and carline thistle (Common biennial plant). Collins. (2012). As seen in Appendices 1g. Soil & Land Geology Data Allonby North – South. Allonby was formed 252 million years ago in the Triassic Period. The detailed soil and land strata are quite comprehensive showing sedimentary deposits form the Glacial melts.
Banks et. Al. (2009), detailed annual research into the common gulls and migrating species form Europe. As a protected site, further studies show the resident birds do inter breed with the argenteus populations that enter the area. The common gull seen extensively around the shorelines is a Category 2 species. Protected as a European Conservation Concern. Meanwhile, further studies have shown that black headed gulls are frequently arriving along the shores. Wintering birds are commonly noted within Gull Surveys. In conclusion, the conservation of Allonby is of high significance to the future of protecting the migratory and localised species. Many of these are now seen in decline such as the common gull. Nearly 4 million gulls migrate to the UK. With protected zones in pace we can continue to preserve and protect the listed areas under the protected zones. The outlook for conservation will be monitored within the protected zone especially where Sellafield has caused some considerable decline of the mussel shell populations. As indicated by there is a significand decrease due to radiocarbons.
Historical Haaf netting continues along this coastline as the traditional netting lands returning salmon (and sea trout (. Along the beach you will find many marine shells of the bivalve molluscs. These are washed up during the tidal changes. At low tide they are located by their slight depressions within the sand. Common gulls (Collins, (2012).
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Photograph 1a. Martin Pullan (2018). [Own Work]
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