Muddy and Sandy Shores

These shores can sometimes look barren and inhospitable, but are far from it. All that sand and mud means surface area for bacteria to attach to and many shellfish, worms and crustaceans have learnt to make this home. You can tell that life is rich by noticing all the feeding birds, especially in the winter. There are many ways animals live in these types of habitats and some animals provide attachments for lots of other creatures. Taking care of these places means the life within and on top of the surface is safe.

How to look after Muddy and Sandy Shores

Low tide can expose some very rare and vulnerable habitats, such as seagrass beds and honeycomb tube worm ‘reefs’. If you are out on these mudflats, walk around these habitats rather than over them.
When the tide is in, reduce your speed if crossing over seagrass beds in a powered craft and avoid dropping anchor in these areas.
If you are bait digging on mudflats at low tide, help the habitat thrive by never taking more than you need and always backfilling the hole you have dug.
The critters that live in and on muddy and sandy shores provide a vital food source for the special birds that visit and live here.
Please be careful not to disturb waders and wildfowl feeding on the shore, especially in winter time.

Fun Facts

Sand is a collection of crushed up shells and rocks. Take a close-up look and you might find a miniature shell amongst the grains.
Muddy shores tend to be found in sheltered areas where the finer sediment can settle.
If you’re walking on a sandy beach you may be actually just walking on worm poo! Lugworms live in the sand and is covered and uncovered by the tide every day. They eat bacteria from the sand they feed on and leave squiggly pooed out, clean sand on the surface.
Razor shells move through the sand by shaking themselves. This liquefies the sand around them – making it easier to move within it.