Culbin Sands

Now an area of conifer forest, the Culbin Sands used to comprise barren sand dunes stretching westwards along the Moray Firth coast from the mouth of the River Findhorn. Described as the 'Scottish Sahara', the Culbin Sands were once part of a fertile coastal estate owned by the Kinnaird family and overwhelmed by sand during a violent storm in 1694. Erosion probably resulted from the harvesting of marram grass for roof thatch, a practice that was forbidden by an act of the Scottish Parliament in 1695. Attempts to reclaim the Culbin Sands in the 18th Century failed and it was not until the Forestry Commission acquired the land in 1922 and planted trees that the area was stabilised. It is now managed by Forestry and Land Scotland.

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