More than 100 people have taken part in a controversial project to "help stabilise" Porthtowan’s dune by planting around 500 Christmas trees on the beach.

The work saw the group bury lines of redundant Christmas trees along the front of the sand dune.

The council says that the lines of trees will help to trap sand with the aim of providing the perfect environment where marram grass, an important plant which helps to bind sand dunes together, can be planted in the early spring.

The planting project is not without controversy, with those opposed to the scheme saying it is a short term solution and a permanent plan is needed.

The Porthtown Post said on Facebook: "I stood in disbelief, looking at a mountain of sand out of which protrudes a mass of dead Christmas trees. Behind them are tons more sand lying uselessly on the green. Where will it go? How long before vicious spikes of dead spruce protrude through their thin covering? How long before the trees disappear? And what chance now of having a return to the towans we knew and loved? Despair and disgust is what I feel now.

Councillor Joyce Duffin, Local Cornwall Councillor for Mount Hawke and Portreath and Chair of the Porthtowan Beach and Dune Management Group, said: “It was so nice to see lots of people come out and give up their time as well as their Christmas trees to help with what is the first stage of the dune stabilisaton works. It was such a lovely community atmosphere and great to see the beach, cafés and the whole area full of people who had come down to do their bit in the sunshine."

Members of the group recognise that moving the sand off the green (between the dune and the Unicorn pub and back onto the beach) is also a really important to the local community. Investigations into whether it will be possible to be able to do this are therefore being followed up.

Mark O’Brien, Cornwall Council’s community network manager for the St Agnes and Perranporth area, said: “Burying the trees to help trap the sand is just the start of the process. This will hopefully be followed up with moving some sand back onto the beach, and then planting marram grass in the spring. We hope that we will get an equally good response to the call for volunteers at future events as it is important that we all continue to work together.”

"There will be times where access to sections of the dune will need to be restricted to ensure that the hard work of all the volunteers has the best chance of working. The group hope that beach users will appreciate this and recognise that by respecting the dunes, they will be helping to protect them so they can be enjoyed for many years to come."