Tidal Tales: How Lytham sand dunes are saving Britain's rarest lizard

A little further along the Fylde coast away from the bright lights of Blackpool, a specialist conservation programme is attempting to bring one Britain's rarest reptiles back to the area for good.

Sand lizards disappeared from Lytham's sand dunes in the 1960's due to being preyed upon by birds and the loss of habitat, but for the last four years conservationists have been releasing hundreds of them back into the dunes to stop them dying out completely.

Their habitat is also under threat, the Wildlife Trust has been building up the dunes by burying Christmas trees and erecting special fences to stop the sand being washed or blown.

If the sand dunes didn't exist not only would the town be liable to flooding, vital wildlife and vegetation would cease to exist.

The Sefton sand lizard - the rarest type - is bred by Paul Hudson at his home in Penrith as part of a joint project between the council and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

Sefton sand lizards

He's built a 20 foot sand dune there to mimic the right habitat they'll get in the wild. This year he has 35 to release into the wild.

Once into the vegetation they're hard to spot and monitor, they'll separate and find one another to mate in a couple of years time.

The project was kept a secret for three years to help the population establish itself without human intervention. It's an offence to disturb or capture these rare creatures.

This years release is thought to be last it's hoped there will now be enough to sustain the population.