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The Holderness Coastline

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The Holderness coastline is the fastest eroding coastline in Europe. The people who live on it are worried that their houses and land may shortly fall into the sea and they want the council to protect the coastline. In some places they have built different defence systems but, what about those peoples houses and land that aren’t protected, the value of their houses has fallen and no one wants to buy a house that is going to fall into the sea, they want their houses to be protected.

The reason that we have conducted this investigation is to decide whether we agree with the hypothesis

“The best policy along the Holderness coastline is to do nothing”. The way in which we have decided to make our minds up is by visiting three different areas along the coastline. These places were Barmston, Mappleton and Withernsea.

We visited Barmston first which was a long and wide beach but the only reason for this was the sea defence mechanisms in place. There were groynes placed about every half a mile down the beach, which has helped keep the sand on this particular area of the coastline. When we first got off the coast we could not really see what the problem was until we walked down the steep slop leading to the beach: We could see pipes that were once attached to houses jutting out of the side of the cliffs. Plus behind the groyne further along the beach the strip of sand really was a narrow strip nowhere near as wide as the part of the beach the other side. As we could see, even from this first beach, if this coastline is to last it needs protection.

The second beach we visited is called Mappleton. The cliff was even higher here and the walk down was steep, yet again there was another long and wide beach that was protected by a groyne made of rip-rap. But even with these protections just by touching this soft bolder clay the cliff just crumbled away in you hands. So if the sea was “choppy” you could see how easy it was to take large wads of the cliff at a time.

The last of the places we visited was called Withernsea. This was a small seaside town, which is protected with a sea wall and riprap. The defence system was built during Victorian times. Yet storms in 1992 and 1993 caused the removal of most of the beach, which was next to the sea wall. In some places you could see the foundations of the sea wall.

Repairs have been made on this beach and large rocks, like those at Mappleton have been placed in front of the sea wall.

On our field trip we were asked to find out how and why the coastline erodes so quickly. The way in which we investigated this was by collecting data from the three sights, we took photographs, sketched pictures of the cliffs, answered questions and measured how step and wide the beaches were. We also conducted wave analysis experiments, measured long shore drift and did a pebble count, measured roughly how high the cliffs were, did a wave analysis experiment, and wrote down how the land was used near the coast.

What are the options and who are the people who “back them up”

~ “Stop sea erosion along the whole coastline no matter what it costs!”

The people who endure living on this coastline want this to happen, their whole future depends on whether their house is going to be defended or not.

~ “Stop sea erosion in certain areas depending on the financial and environmental costs”

The council have acted upon this statement to make artificial headlands by protecting Villages/towns such as Bridlington, Hornsea, Mappleton and Withernsea.

~ “Allow a controlled ‘phase’ of erosion, allowing slowing erosion in some areas and not others”

~ ” Do nothing at all and spend the money on other things like creating jobs, roads and new housing”

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