Holderness Coast


- East coast of England

- 61km stretch between Flamborough Head and Spurn Point

- 3 miles of lands has been lost to erosion since Roman Times (includes 23 towns / villages)

Image result for holderness coast

1 of 6


- There is a layer of bedrock underlying the coast

- It is made up of Cretaceous Chalk

- It is mostly covered by a glacial till deposited 18,000 years ago

- This till is soft boulder clay 

- This is being rapidly eroded over time

2 of 6


There are 2 main reasons the coastline is eroding so quickly:

1. Strong prevailing winds create longshore drift which moves material south

2. The cliffs are made of soft boulder clay which erodes rapidly when saturated

Image result for holderness coast cliffs

3 of 6


There is a continuous 4 stage cycle:

1. The soft boulder clay cliffs become saturated with rain water, causing them to lose strength

2. The cliff is too steep due to erosion at the base and so collapses

3. This cliff failure reduces the angle of the cliff, reducing further erosion

4. Large waves from the North East remove debris from the base of the cliff in longshore drift as well as saturate and erode the cliffs, causing them to steepen again

4 of 6

Hard Engineering Strategies

- Defences (i.e.2 rock groynes) were built at Mappleton in 1991

- They cost £2 million

- They were built to protect the village and a coastal road from erosion and flooding

- A sea wall, wooden groynes, and rock armour were built at Hornsea

- These were built to protect the village from erosion and flooding

- Bridlington is protected by a 4.7km seawall and multiple wooden groynes

- The Eastern side of Spurn Point is protected by groynes and rock armour

- These groynes and rock armour also protect the Humber Estuary

- Groynes were built to create wider beaches and a sea wall was built at Withernsea

- Rock armour was put in front of this wall in 1992 after it was weakened in severe storms

5 of 6

Consequences caused by Management Strategies

- The rate of coastal retreat at Lincolnshire Coast has been increased due to less new material being added

- Bays are forming in between the protected areas, causing the protected areas to become headlands which are now being heavily eroded due to their increased exposure

- Maintaining the defences at this newly formed headlands is increasingly expensive due to increased erosion occuring

- Reducing eroded material has increased the risk of flooding from the Humber Estuary due to there being less material present to slow down flood waters

- Groynes have caused beaches downshore to become narrower due to less sediment being transported

- These narrower beaches has led to clifftop land such as Cowden Farm to be at risk of falling into the sea due to there not being as much protection given by the beach at the foot of the cliffs

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Case studies resources »