Holderness case study - edexcel

Case stufy of the coast of Holderness for the unit 2 exam of AS geography

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1. Background information on Holderness

  • Erosion has been a problem for centuries in Holderness
  • Is the fastest eroding coastline in Europe
  • On average, nearly 2 metres of its coastline is lost per year
  • During the winter of 2006-2007, 5 metres vanished, including the small coast of 'Skipsea'
  • Holderness s not necessarily regraded as 'crowded' however can be used in crowded coast exam questions in the sense that the coastline is crowded in the way of there are people in a high risk area, more than other areas in high risk areas making it crowded compared to other towns / places.
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2. Case study showing the severity of erosion

Peter Johnson's story- 2007

  • Peter had brought the property and land expecting to live out his full life in Holderness
  • In 2007 said he has to move sooner or later, or he will be in the sea
  • Lived in Seaside Road, near Hornsea.
  • Was angry that he paid his rates and taxes to the council so expected some help in return in his time of need = CONFLICT !
  • Lived in his home for only 11 years
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3. Why erosion is so rapid

1. GEOOLOGY (Rock type)- Holderness has two rock types; chalk and boulder clay. The boulder clay has little resistance to erosion especially when wet. The chalk created the features such as cliffs, arches and stacks.

2. THE FETCH-Holderness is exposed to waves and winds from the north east bringing a small fetch of about 500-800km across North sea, this is not much compared to others however due to the geology of holderness has a high impact.

3. LONGSHORE DRIFT & BEACH MATERIAL- Boulder clay erodes to create alot of clay particles whoch are easily transported out to sea, the sand that is produced is carried southwards by longshore drift leaving Holderness clofts poorly protected from wava attacks due to little beaches and sand.

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4. Can erosion be stopped?

  • up until 1990's councils used hard engineering to protect coastlines
  • these hard engineering techniques such as sea walls or groynes are expensive
  • Nowadays, more soft engineering techniques are used such as using the natural processes to work with the coastline and trying to manage, not necessarily protect the coastline
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5. Management techniques- hard engenering

HARD ENGENERING - defined as the structures built along the coast, usually at the base of a cliff or on a beach e.g. sea walls, groynes


  • Build to trap sediment carried along the coast in order to create a better coastline for the holiday makers
  • This also protchts the beach and the town
  • Friction from waves are absorbed by the sediment, less energy means less erosion!


  • After campaigning by residents to protect Mappleton, the council built two Rock groynes
  • built in 1991 costing £2million
  • neighbour villages e.g. Cowden) however saw their erosion rate increase as erosion increases past the last groyne, this is called 'terminal groyne sydnrome'
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6. Management techniques- soft engenering

SOFT ENGENERING- Defined as designed to work with natural processes in the coastal system to try to manage- and not necessarily prevent erosion


  • along the Holderness coast
  • Decisions are made by councils to allow some places to erode, and not in others
  • zones in high risk of erosion are refused planning permission for e.g. homes, caravan sites and local residents can apply to move
  • Residents agree to demolish previous home and relocate somewhere the same size in a different town such as Hornsea and Withernsea
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A cost benefit analysis will be carried out before a coastal management project is given the go ahead. Coats are calculated e.g. the cost of sea walls then compared with the benefits such asland saved.

If costs are greater than benefits the plan is unlikely to go ahead.

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