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Nature Watch, by Trevor Beer

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

Trevor Beer

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School holidays, families using beaches for recreation, means sand in shoes and stuck to sun creamed legs.

Each grain is a quartz fragment worn away from an older sandstone, or perhaps a rock such as granite. Sand is easily moved by flowing water or by wind, hence coastal dunes being formed, some of which are colonised by grasses and scrub and become “fixed”.

Sandstone is a rock made of coarse or fine grains of sand compacted together and is an easy rock to identify.

They vary in colour as a result of the presence of iron oxides and other materials and may be yellow, white, black or red.

Basically sandstones consist of material from ancient quartz rocks laid down as sediment on the seabed and compressed solid over vast periods of time. If there are considerable amounts of calcium carbonate in sandstones they will merge into limestones.

Britain’s coastline provides a haven for many wildlife species despite its harsh environment, more subject to extremes than any other natural environment. One can fairly say our coasts can be divided into two main types, sandy beaches and rocky shores. Both support a wealth of wildlife and are ranged in zones according to the length of time the land is left exposed by the ebb tides.

There are about 800 seaweeds to be found in Britain. All are algae and they may be found to a depth of 100 ft (30m) in clear water. Times folks.

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