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New story map uncovers the natural beauty of Cleethorpes Saltmarsh

11:41 am, Friday, 20th January 2023 - 1 year ago


Everyone knows about the Amazon rainforest, but did you know the saltmarsh in Cleethorpes is also an internationally important habitat?

Like the Amazon, Cleethorpes Saltmarsh is a spectacular landscape that supports a rich variety of plants, birds and other creatures. It also captures and stores polluting carbon dioxide – more so than an area of rainforest the same size.

North East Lincolnshire Council has created a new immersive story map to tell the remarkable story of the saltmarsh.

Called Life on the Saltmarsh, the online story gives viewers the opportunity to discover more about the vital role the saltmarsh plays and what we can do to protect it.

With stunning photographs and interactive maps, the story map shows Cleethorpes Saltmarsh to be a wild, coastal landscape full of natural beauty, but also treacherous with deep, hidden creeks and a fast-incoming tide.

Find out more at 

Grasses growing in the saltmarsh mud with the Humber sea fort in the distance.
Grasses growing in the saltmarsh mud with the Humber sea fort in the distance.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

“We are fortunate to have an internationally important habitat on our doorstep.

“Not only does the saltmarsh provide a feeding ground for wetland birds, it also helps protect our coastline from flooding and absorbs polluting carbon dioxide.

“We’re using the new story map to give more people an insight into the unique environment of the Cleethorpes Saltmarsh.

“It’s important that we look after the saltmarsh and the wildlife that inhabits it.”

Balancing the needs of nature and a busy seaside resort requires careful management by the Council. This involves maintaining the boundary between the saltmarsh and the main tourist beach.

The border follows a line that runs diagonally from the corner of Cleethorpes Leisure Centre. This border is monitored daily and, when it is safe to do so, vegetation is removed by hand when it encroaches on the main beach.

An egret feeding in the estuary mud
An egret feeding in the estuary mud

Do not disturb

The Council is publishing the story map at a time when hundreds of thousands of wetland birds are visiting our coast after an exhausting journey from the Arctic Circle.

They are here to rest and if they are disturbed it can mean they don’t make it back to their breeding grounds in the Spring.

Beach visitors can help them get the rest they need over the winter months by following these simple steps:

  • Keep to the designated footpaths
  • Keep dogs under control
  • Anyone using the coastline for water sports must stay away from the saltmarsh and sand banks.

The bird populations are so important, the estuary is designated as a Special Protected Area, Special Area for Conservation, European Marine Site, and is recognised by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as a wetland of international importance.

Cllr Swinburn added:

“Wintering birds need your help to make their stay here as restful as possible.

“Anything that disturbs the birds, such as a dog running loose or a speeding jet ski, causes them to take flight and waste valuable energy reserves.

“This means they might not make it back to the Arctic in the Spring and puts their numbers at risk.”

The ArcGIS story map is a web-based application from mapping and geographic information software (GIS) company Esri.

Wading birds feeding in the estuary mud at the Humberston Fitties beach
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