There are numerous access points to the site which are difficult to control and also provide easy and quick exit.
Lagoon Walk and South Parade Car Park
Additional signs erected in July 2004 have undoubtedly raised awareness but problems still exist; most illegal vehicles enter the site from this direction. The barrier directly on to the marsh has no limiting post on the dune side and in September of that year a full size car was able to pass with two wheels well up into the dunes. There has been subsequent tracks indicating this happens from time to time.
All roads off Drummond Road leading east, from Lifeboat Avenue to Drake Road but with the exception of Syne Avenue, provide access on the marsh. ELDC have widened these pathways through the west dunes and in some cases there is now easy access for small vehicles such as quad bikes. Consideration must be given to appropriate signs at all these entry points.
Since the barrier was erected at the end of the Esplanade and the signs placed along the roadside there are very few problems at this end.
On occasions vehicles access the beach further north and simply drive through the dune breach or over the outer dunes. Many illegal activities are confined solely to the beach and these are covered below.
It may be that, to fully protect the site, further signage needs to be installed at all beach entry points limiting southerly travel and a permanent large sign placed in the sand opposite the end of Beach Road.
There is little doubt that general abuse by the public has a detrimental effect on the site and it easy to find evidence of previous vehicle damage, some having occurred many years ago. Not all is so obvious, as many activities simply dislodge wildlife and push it away from the site and it is particularly important to avoid this when birds such as skylark are nesting on the marsh and ringed plover on the shingle.
There has been a substantial increase in various wind sport activities along the beach and little understanding from the participants about this protected area; the public are not generally aware that this protection extends to the mean low water mark. As the extreme sports market continues to rapidly expand, it may be that Skegness, as a premium resort, will have to designate a specific area of beach to such activities. In the past as many as nine chute driven vehicles have been seen racing along the sand not only driving away most roosting and feeding birds but also posing a very real danger to other beach users. Persistant contact and the tightening of the Council's lease agreements had almost eliminated this sand based activity by the end of 2006 but this has been on the increase again in the last three years. (It appears that many other resorts, having designated such areas are in fact benefiting from the increased tourism that the publicity generates.)
Kite sports have continued to grow and as many as eleven have been noted in the sky at any one time used mainly for surf boarding and free flying from the beach. During the Tern breeding season the returning parents have been seen making large detours to miss such activity and some may have failed to return although there is no data to support this at present.
The following vehicles and activities have been observed on the marsh, beach and dune system at one time or another. (I have made no attempt to confront or record the use of bicycles, the daily use of which, is consistently high but contained mainly to the pathway east of the west dune ridge, running from Beach Road to Drake Road.) All these issues could be addressed with the formulation of local bye-laws and a regular Warden/Ranger presence.
-Land yachts, boards, and mountain boards, wind driven by chute, kite and sail.
-Powered hang gliders, rigid and chute.
-Bait digging, particularly in the creeks on the marsh.
-Camping and in particular lighting fires.
-Long term camping by vagrants - in 2006 up to 7 vagrants in various dune locations persistantly for more than 6 months. No action by police or ELDC to either move them or clear away the large volume of rubbish left on site. Again in 2012 persistant campers remained on site for 7months before the Anti Social Team took action.
-Collecting plants and flowers and in particular collecting samphire. Large numbers of Asian visitors can be seen round about the August Bank Holiday weighed down with large carrier bags full of samphire and it is understood that much of this is sold in the midlands on their return.
-Horse riding both on the beach and the marsh.
-Dumping of garden waste and introduction of alien species.
-Beach Ferry (Currently not in use) - the same constraints put upon the vehicle whilst driving on the NNR must be adhered to throughout the full length of the SSSI.
-Police Buggy (Currently not in use) – liaison with the police necessary to ensure they adhere to guidelines for use of their vehicle whilst on routine patrol. (Suggested procedures from Kevin Wilson NNR but vehicle not currently in use)
-Boat Club Tractors – I have recorded entry of tractors towing boats, through the breach in the outer dune ridge (subsequently crossing the marsh to Beach Road gate) on 2 occasions. On the last occasion I was fortunate to speak to the Boat Club, Chairman and I hope this will no longer be an issue.(2006 seems to have resolved this issue)
2013 - From time to time the tractor and trailer has been used to launch and collect craft from well into the SSSI and as far south as Drake Road. Since the creek formed opposite Derby Avenue this has limited tractor access.
-ELDC Tractor - In the Autumn of 2013 the tractor and occasionally attached sweeper have made fairly regular trips along the SSSI beach and well onto the NNR for no apparant reason. The tractor has also run across embryo dunes with little regard for preservation of this fragile habitat.