Geography - Coast

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Case Study

Sue Earle

Sue was about to lose her home at a high cost to costal erosion. The council was more interested in protecting other areas of the coastline closer to the nearby village. Aswell as this, the council had just spent £2 million on groynes to protect other areas of the coastline so didn't have much left to help Sue Earle with.

To be fair to the council, Sue was given the choice to move out but refused and it was only inevitable that the day was going to come when her business and home became lost to the sea.

On the other hand, when the groynes were built, they were built further up the coast meaning that the erosion became greater where Sue lived than it had been previous to the groynes.

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Holderness Coast

The rate of erosion at the Holderness coastline is one of the worst in the country, during stormy weathr between 7-10 metres of land can be lost to the sea. Since Roman times it has been recorded that 3-4 killometres of land has been lost meaning 29 villages have been eroded away.


  • The Holderness coastline is made up of soft rock so it can easily be eroded.
  • Due to lots of cracks, the cliffs can become very unstable in bad weather.
  • Groynes put in by humans means that more erosion occurs at the end of the protective barrier.


  • Buildings can be damaged and transport can be halted.
  • Plants and crops can be lost/damaged.
  • Farmers can lose their land aswell as home owners.
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  • Holderness council spent around £2 million on groynes to protect their fast eroding coastline showing that groynes are fairly expensive to put in place.
  • Surrounding areas of the groynes are effected even worse than they previously were.
  • It can be considered a scar upon the landscape.
  • Some believe that nature should be allowed to take its own course.


  • Because of the groynes, roads are better protected which in turn can help boost the economy.
  • Farmland is protected meaning that less fossil fuels are used to transport items as items can be sourced more locally.
  • Villages aren't lost to erosion meaning there are less housing problems.
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Deposition is the process by which a river/ocean deposits its load (typically stones and sand) somewhere.

A spit is formed where the line of the coast changes. Longshore drift moves sediment along the coast in the same direction but when the coastline changes direction, the sediment is deposited as a ridge. This ridge stretches away from the coastline forming a spit.

Constructive waves deposit material when they break on the shore in a sheltered bay as they run out of energy. The backwash is weak and so sand and pebbles are left behind to form a beach.

Destructive waves have a weak swash yet a stong backwash meaning that when they break and the water retreats, pebbles and sand are pulled back down the beach. Basically they destroy beaches by removing the material.

Longshore drift is the zig-zag movement of waves which causes the load of sediment the waves are carrying to build up and cause erosion.

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