Learn how to maintain and improve sand dunes – extremely fragile, valuable, natural habitats.

This is a guide to sand dune management. It is intended to be used by conservation volunteers and all others interested in maintaining or improving sand dunes.

It contains everything you need to know about sand dune management – their formation, ecology, the law, health and safety, access, vegetation, stabilisation and much more.

What to expect

Sand dune subjects

Background info

Coastal and desert sand dunes

Detailed background information – sand dune formation, erosion, ecology, management problems, the law, safety, tools and equipment.

Dune stabilisation

A box system with spurs

Detailed techniques to re-contour dunes, construct wave barriers and sand-trap fencing, and the use of thatching, mulching and binding to stabilise dunes.

Access and vegetation

Lyme grass

Principles and methods of directing and limiting public access, as well as methods of establishing vegetation to create a living dune system.

Sand Dunes: a practical handbook – chapters

The original, printed TCV handbook “Sand Dunes, a practical handbook” contained 108 pages. Every one of these pages is included in these digital versions.

A brief introduction to sand dunes and this guide.

A description of what sand dunes are, how they are formed and eroded, and their ecology.

Small changes can have a great effect on sand dunes. A look at the threats to sand dunes, management problems and principles.

The extremely complex legal aspects of the coast – ownership, rights of use, protected species and wreck.

The important aspects of health and safety while working on sand dunes.

Techniques of re-contouring dunes, the construction of wave barriers and sand-trap fencing, and the use of thatching, mulching and binding to stabilise dunes.

A look at the basic principles and methods of directing and limiting public access on sand dunes.

How to establish vegetation on dunes. This creates a living system of dune growth and stabilisation.

Management of existing woodland, clearance of scrub, and maintenance of grassland areas by mowing, grazing or burning.

A description of some of the management work carried out on sand dunes to encourage various types of wildlife.

Brief mention of the ecological study of sand dunes.

Guidelines for enjoying the coastline of the UK..

A list of the publications referred to in the text, as well as others relevant to the subject of sand dunes.

An explanation of some of the terms found in the sand dunes guide.

What is in the handbooks?

Step by step

All the processes in the handbooks are explained in easy to follow language, using step-by-step guides that are ideal for all levels.

Clearly Illustrated

Over 2,000 helpful illustrations accompany the text, adding clarity.


The handbooks cover all the topics you need to improve your skills and knowledge.


Written by conservation experts, the handbooks are highly valued by users across the conservation sector.