Case Studies - Coastal Zone

Case studies for AQA Geography Spec A - Coastal Zone

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Give an example of an area that is affected by coa


  • The average rate of erosion is about 1.8 m per year at Holderness

This is due to:

  • Easily eroded rock type, boulder clay, which can also slump when wet.
  • Naturally narrow beaches which means less natural defence against sea
  • Groynes further up the coast limit material supply, narrowing beaches further.
  • Powerful waves due to coast facing the prevailing wind
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What are the impacts of the Coastal Erosion here?


  • Homes near cliff are at risk of collapsing into the sea
  • Property prices fall
  • Accessability affected
  • Businesses are lost and people lose jobs
  • Gas terminal close by is at risk and could cut supply
  • 80,000 square metres of farmland lost each year


  • Some SSSIs are threatened e.g. the Lagoons near Easington could be lost if bar is eroded.
  • Natural habitats are lost
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Give an example of an area affected or theatened b


  • Population of 300,000
  • Average island height only 1.5m above sea leavel, with 80% below 1m.


  • Economic - Loss of tourism (the largest industry) and disruption to fishing industry (the largest export)
  • Social - Homes damaged or destroyed and low fresh water supplies
  • Environmental - Loss of beaches and soil
  • Political - Government has been changing policies and plans and asked for $60 million to build a sea wall.
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Give an example of an area that uses coastal manag



  • Bridlington is protected by a 4.7km sea wall and wooden groynes
  • Hornsea has groynes, sea wall and rock armour
  • Mappleton has two rock groynes
  • Withernsea has groynes, a sea wall and rock armour.
  • Spurn Head Spit is protected by groynes and rock armour.


  • Groynes starve beaches further down the coast putting them more at risk
  • Reducing the amount of eroded material, increases the risk of flooding at Humber estuary
  • This is the same for the Lincolnshire coast
  • Spurn Head could be eroded away because less material is being added.
  • Maintaining the defences is expensive.
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Give an example of a salt marsh and describe the m


  • The salt marsh is retreating by up to 6m a year
  • The salt marsh could be under threat if Hurst Castle spit is breached in storms etc.
  • Increasing demands for leisure and tourism have meant more visitors. Careful management is required to prevent damage by trampling, parking and pollution.
  • In 1996, rock armour and beach nourishment were used to increase the spit therefore protecting the marshes.
  • The area is an SSSI therefore is carefully managed and monitored
  • Sea levels are expected to rise and this could be dangerous for the marshes

Common Wildlife:

  • Cordgrass
  • Sea lavender
  • Oystercatcher (bird)
  • Common blue (butterfly)
  • Wold Spider
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Ella Jane Turner


what is coa?

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