Strange sight: lawn appears on a Spanish beach

by Lorraine Williamson
lawn on beach

LEPE – Nature sometimes takes strange leaps. In recent days, a kind of lawn has spontaneously emerged on the beach of La Antilla in Lepe (the west coast of Huelva). At low tide, part of the beach is covered with a layer of vegetation that reaches almost to the water. 

Furthermore, there are no signs yet that it will disappear any time soon. Visitors and the approximately 2,000 residents reacted with astonishment to this phenomenon. 

Unknown cause 

The images are somewhat reminiscent of the spontaneous greening of the desert in Saudi Arabia. The difference is that people in Saudi Arabia know why, namely unexpectedly much rain. However, it is not known how this lawn on the beach in Lepe was created. 

Beach recovery 

Alderman for tourism Elena Vélez also has no other explanation than that ‘nature sometimes does special things’. What may play a role is that in recent years people have been working on this beach – one of the four beaches in Lepe – to recover from erosion and to replenish the sand. It is possible that soil also came along with that sand. It may have contained seeds that have now germinated. 

“In December it rained exceptionally, followed by a few days with a lot of sunshine. That also contributed to this exceptional phenomenon, “said the alderman. Her colleague in charge of beach management, José Miguel Ramírez, emphasises the need to further restore the beach. 

del canto chambers 2

Breakwater 

An important condition is the construction of a breakwater on the beach of La Antilla. That project has already been approved and it is hoped that this can be realised as soon as possible. The idea is that the breakwater, which is about 160 metres long, will be installed perpendicular to the coastline. 

The Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Problems has already approved the environmental impact assessment for this project in 2022. Approval has also been granted to replenish La Antilla and Islantilla beaches with nearly five tons of additional sand. In this way, those beaches must have sufficient sand at low tide all year round. That is not an unnecessary luxury, because especially in the days around Easter (Semana Santa) these beaches are popular with visitors. 

The main function of the breakwater will be to stop sand loss in the long term. The water is now taking a lot of sand with it, especially on the side where the breakwater is to be built. Therefore, the local authorities hope that the breakwater will be built as soon as possible. 

Interest in lawn on the beach

The strip of green is located on the so-called Playa Central (the centrally located beach). It is directly accessible from the highway that connects Lepe to the beach. It is therefore not surprising that many visitors have come in recent days to see this special phenomenon with their own eyes. You just have to park your car at the beach and walk 50 metres to see this little twist of nature. 

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