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The Holderness Coast is one of Europe's fastest eroding coastlines. The average annual rate of
erosion is around 2 metres per year. This is around 2 million tonnes of material every year. Under
lying the Holderness Coast is bedrock made up of Cretaceous Chalk. However, in most places this is
covered by glacial till deposited over 18,000 years ago. It is this soft boulder clay that is being
The exposed chalk of Flamborough provides us with strong examples of erosion, features such as
caves, arches and stacks. The soft boulder clay underlying Hornsea provides clear evidence of the
erosional power of the sea(Hydraulic action). Mappleton however is not as well managed, it was a
great attempt but, there will be more information later.
Spurn Point has been victim to longshore drift on the Holderness Coast. It is an excellent example of a
spit. Around 3% of the material eroded from the Holderness Coast is deposited here each year.
Now lets break it down into 6 parts. Flamborough, Mappleton, Hornsea, Skipsea, Spurn Point and
Flamborough is the headland that forms the most northerly point of the Holderness Coast
The most striking aspect of Flamborough Head are the white chalk cliffs that surround it. The chalk lies
in distinct horizontal layers, formed from the remains of tiny sea creatures millions of years ago.
Above the chalk at the top of the cliffs is a layer of till (glacial deposits) left behind by glaciers 18,000
years ago, during the last ice age. As the cliffs below are worn away by the action of the waves, the
clay soil often falls into the sea in huge landslips.
The photgraph here was taken overlooking Selwicks Bay looking west from the cliff top.
The sea attacks the coast around the headland in two ways. Waves beat against the vertical cliffs
and, at the high water line, weak points in the chalk are worn away into caves. The weakest points
are where vertical cracks or fault lines have appeared in the horizontal beds of chalk. At places on the
cliffs where the chalk juts out, these caves are worn away into rock arches. If the top of an arch
collapses, the result is a pillar of chalk cut off from the rest of the headland - this is called a stack.
Flamborough Head has many caves and arches, as well as a few stacks. The process of erosion that
has created them can take hundreds of years to do its work.
Situated approximately 3km south of Hornsea lies the village of Mappleton. Supporting
approximately 50 properties, the village has been subject to intense erosion at a rate of 2.0m per
year, resulting in the access road being only 50m from the cliff edge at its closest point.
Mappleton lies upon unconsolidated till. This material was deposited by glaciers during the last ice
age 18,000 years ago.
The two rock groynes at Mappleton have helped develop wide and steep sandy beaches.
Mappleton has suffered many a time from land slides and certainly longshore drift, with the landslips
and coastal erosion speeding at a worrying pace, people are fretting that in around 20 years
mappleton will have disappeared.
Hornsea is a small coastal town located between Bridlington and Withernsea along the Holderness
Coast. A 2.9km stretch of shoreline fronts the town of Hornsea. A high density urban development
containing residential and various tourist related properties, Hornsea's local economy is dependent
on tourism and recreation as well as incorporating a small fishing industry.
Hornsea lies upon unconsolidated till. This material was deposited by glaciers during the last ice age
18,000 years ago.
The groynes on Hornsea beach ensure wide and relatively steep beaches. The beach material is
made up of sand and shingle.
Beach material is being transported south along the Holderness Coast by longshore drift. In Hornsea
sand has accumulated where protection exists. This is because the groynes provide a barrier to
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This has reduced erosion along the front of the town but increased rates
are evident further south where the defences stop.
It is situated approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of Bridlington and 6 miles (9.7 km) north of
Hornsea on the B1242 road at its junction with the B1249 road. The Village is a typical rural setting
surrounded by rich agricultural land and yet sits close to the cliffs and the North Sea.…read more