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A hiking trail snakes through Weymouth Woods in the sandhills region of North Carolina.


The Sandhills is a region in the interior of the U.S. states of North Carolinamarker and South Carolinamarker. It is a strip of ancient beach dunes which generally divides the Piedmont from the coastal plain, and is the evidence of a former coastline when the ocean level was higher, or the land lower. The beach deposits were formed principally during the Miocene Epoch, circa 20 million years before the present. Typical beach fossils are found along the front edges. The coastal plain is terraced from other ocean levels, but none appear to have been so long-lasting, so as to build up dunes of this size.

Hydrology

The Sandhills are an important groundwater recharge area for coastal aquifers in the Carolinas. It takes several hundred years for water to move underground from the Sandhills to the South Carolinamarker coast.

Vegetation

Because they are predominantly porous, sandy soils, the area tends to be droughty and irrigation is required for agriculture. Some areas are noted for peach production, primarily because peaches need a well drained soil.

Prior to agricultural use, most of the Sandhills were forested with Longleaf Pine, Loblolly Pine, Turkey oak, and Blackjack oak. In areas of extreme drainage, the forests are visibly scrubby. Oaks increase under conditions of wildfire exclusion, whereas Longleaf Pine will dominate under a regime of frequent fires. Understory vegetation is of plants that are well adapted to droughty conditions, as well as the frequent lightning-induced fires typical of the region. Wiregrass (Aristida spp.) is frequently extensive in the understory. Carnivorous plants, especially pitcher plants, often occur in the herb layer.

Wildlife

Notable vertebrate species of the Carolina Sandhills include Gopher Tortoise, Northern pine snake, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, and Pine Barrens Tree Frog. Many Sandhills species are of threatened or endangered.

Socioeconomic region in North Carolina

The Sandhills region of North Carolina, in socioeconomic terms, most notably refers to the area in and surrounding the municipalities of Southern Pinesmarker, Pinehurstmarker, and Aberdeenmarker (i.e. Moore Countymarker). The area is famous for its golf courses and history in the sport of golf. The city of Fayettevillemarker is sometimes considered part of the Sandhills, but it is isolated from the heart of the region by Fort Bragg Military Reservationmarker.

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