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Coastal Environment

Introduction

Coastal erosion and deposition is a theme that is currently relevant in places such as Happisburgh and Easton Bavents along the East Coast. It has also been a constant theme throughout history and extends back into the geological timescale.

Coastal erosion caused by storms has destroyed most of the once major medieval port of Dunwich in Suffolk, and deposition of sandbanks at Great Yarmouth enabled the town to develop, and the silting up of the river Yare's mouth over 250 years caused the harbour to be relocated 7 times. Ancient settlements such as Snitterly and Shipden have been replaced by their modern counterparts at Blakeney and Cromer respectively.

Many villages and towns along the East Coast were subjected to intense flooding within living memory in the Flood of 1953.

The beach and cliffs of the coast from Cromer to Walton are sources of much beachcombed and excavated marine life and fossils. The coast is also of course home to birds and other wildlife. Ironically, winter waves and storms which scour out the cliffs uncover long-buried geological remains which were deposited when the coastline was much further out than at present.

Romano-British populations made salt at the Wash and near Burnham-on-Crouch. Back further in time, a Bronze Age community erected the enigmatic 'SeaHenge' at Holme-next-the-Sea. At the time of its construction it was not near the sea, it is the advance of the sea inland which has given it part of its name.

 

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