Marram grass grown at North Burlingham is heading north to Tyneside dunes

About 268,000 hardy grass plants cultivated outside Norwich will soon be replanted 300 miles away to help bolster coastal dunes on Tyneside.

The Marram and Lyme grasses grown at British Wild Flower Plants in North Burlingham, near Acle, are due to start their long journey north at the end of this week.

The company, which is the largest grower of native plants in the UK, won a contract with South Tyneside Council to help the authority reclaim coastline on the sweeping dunes of Sandhaven Beach in South Shields.

Once in place the grass, which can grow up to one metre high, is intended to bind the sand in place using its deep roots and enhance the dunes for visitors and wildlife.

Linda Laxton, owner of British Wild Flower Plants said: 'The seed was collected from a nearby site last summer so that the plants we grow and deliver will have the same genetic make-up and should establish quickly. These plants are very hardy so can withstand harsh weather and also attracts wildlife so are an important part of the eco-system.

'We had to grow 268,000 plants in our nurseries which will now be individually planted at Sandhaven beach to stabilise the sand and to stop it from shifting.

'It's nice to be doing our bit to protect a beautiful coastline.'

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Established for more than 25 years, British Wild Flower Plants is a specialist propagator which produces more than 380 species of native British plants at its six-acre nursery.

The business has worked on a wide range of projects including planting schemes for local authorities and private gardeners, and has also previously contributed plants for 'best in show' winners at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

South Tyneside Council chose the company following a competitive procurement exercise, in which it recognised the Norfolk firm's previous experience of restoration projects along the banks of the river Tyne.