Saunton Golf Club is situated on Braunton Burrows, a sand dune system which is the largest in England and vitally important for its plants and animals. In recognition of this, the Burrows and hence Saunton's golf courses have been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
The effect of this is that Saunton has to obtain consent from Natural England whenever we wish to carry out any significant works on the courses, which could be in danger of damaging the Burrows. We have had to agree a Course Management Plan with Natural England, which dictates exactly how we manage the land.
This Management Plan has identified a number of items that need to be addressed, the principal one being the encroachment of non-native scrub (blackthorn, willow, privet, bramble etc). Currently 15% of the Club's land is covered in scrub and Natural England require that we reduce this to 5% over the next 8 years. We are told that the scrub has almost doubled over the last 20 years! This will be an enormous task but we have already made a start and the benefits are well worth striving for.
The dunes are a feature of great natural beauty and as anyone visiting Saunton will have noticed, particularly in the summer months, the wild flowers are spectacular. It is said that the Burrows have well over 400 different wild flowers and every year a variety of Orchids, Evening Primrose and Poppies grow in abundance.
Below a few local birds which can be spotted during your round...