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...
Please visit the below links to view our Ecological Plans for both the East and West Course
We are incredibly proud to have won the 'Going Green Award' as part of the Sport & Recreation Alliance's Community Sport and Recreation Awards.
The awards ceremony took place on Friday 17th March at Twickenham Stadium and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh presented us with our award.
We were alongside some very worthy finalists who had made positive impacts to the environment and who had become more sustainable over the past year.
We were awarded the 'Going Green Award' for reducing our environmental impact and for our commitments to look after the site from an ecological standpoint.
Please see some of the initiatives below that we have undertaken as a Club which led to our nomination:
- the creation of a detailed five-year Ecological Plan
- naturalising our fairway bunkers
- taking on more land to set up a turf nursery
- growing wild and rare flowers on the site to help bee populations
- installing solar panels
- using hybrid mowers
- having electric car charging points
- encouraging recycling on site
We are incredibly proud of our whole team here at the Club who have all helped us in our drive to become more sustainable in the way we operate, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to look after the site and the local environment for years to come.
For more information, please click here to read the Sport and Recreation Alliance's article.