The Holderness Coastline
The infamous Holderness Coastline is located on the East coast of Yorkshire, stretching from Flamborough Head to Spurn Point. In the last 2000 years the coastline has retreated by almost 400m and since Roman times over 28 villages have disappeared into the sea between Bridlington and Spurn Head. About a million years ago the Yorkshire coastline was a line of chalk cliffs almost 32km west of where it now is. During the Ice Age deposits of soft boulder clay were built up against these cliffs to form the new coastline. It is this soft sand and clay which is easily eroded by the action of waves, as the ocean slowly claims back the region it used to occupy.
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This is evident at both Great Cowden and Easington.
The Holderness Coastline is also extremely exposed with little protection. The original coastline before the ice age consisted mainly of chalk, and is still present today at Flamborough Head where a headland has formed as chalk is much more resistant to coastal erosion than the boulder clay. This outcrop of land provides some shelter, although it is minimal, as the stretch of coastline down to Spurn Head is over 50km long, most experiencing almost head on dominant waves. The coastline is also exposed to strong North/North-East winds, which co-enside with a rather generous fetch. Destructive waves are a result, which erode the beaches and attack the foot of the cliffs, removing masses of clay in suspension, resulting in strong marine erosion.
The material eroded and transported elsewhere results in little material left to form beaches, which act as a barrier to protect the cliff line from tides, currents and storms, therefore the sea's processed are able to keep cutting back the cliff line.
The weather also has a large influence. Often there are winter storm surges producing higher waves, and higher sea levels, meaning higher energy erosion. In addition is increased sub-aerial denudation brought about by the heavy rain and strong winds. This often leads to increased slumping and
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How effective are the coastal management strategies used at present in your local beach area?
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