Recreation : Guidelines : Walking, hiking and dog walking : Summary

Summary of environmental impacts

Impacts associated with trampling will vary according to the nature of the site, the soil which constitutes the feature, and the levels and types of recreational activities.

Where access to sensitive mSAC features is possible, walkers can cause significant soil compaction.

Car parking associated with walking activities can cause habitat loss and damage to existing habitats through erosion and soil compaction.

Impacts from trampling and informal car parking are particularly acute in and around estuarine sand dunes, with participants generally unaware of the habitatsí sensitivity. Damage to vegetation from trampling and also from fire can be observed in these areas.

Walkers can be a localised source of litter, although much of the litter found on beaches and intertidal areas originates from other landside sources or from ships.

Landside recreational activities can cause disturbance to both plants and animals within mSAC areas. This can be as a result of noise, species collection or the mere presence of participants in close proximity to wildlife. Levels of disturbance are difficult to assess as the sensitivity of different species to disturbance varies greatly.

Issue

mSAC Features

Sand dunes

Saltmarsh

Mud and sand flats not covered by sea water at low tide

Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water at all times

large shallow inlets and bays

Reefs

Lagoons

Submerged or partly submerged sea caves

Grey seal

Common seal

Bottlenose dolphin

Trampling

l

w

m

m

m 1

m

Erosion

l

l

m

m

m

m

Car parking

l

l

w

m

m

Litter/waste3

w *

w *

m

Plant and wildlife disturbance

l

w

m

w *

m

w *

w *

m

Fire risk

l

m

m

 

Key to impacts

Blank Square - not applicable

m - minimal

w - observable, likely to be location specific

w * - observable at certain times, minimal at other times

l - appreciable

 

Notes

  • rocky shores

  • unmanaged parking

  • most impacts relating to litter are connected with visual amenity rather than damage to a feature and are therefore n/a

 

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