Category Archives: Coastal defence

The butterfly that stamped

In the news on the Isle of Wight right now is the Military Road, a tourist trail of great scenic beauty that takes visitors along the south-west coast of the Island. the trouble is, it’s getting closer and closer to the cliff each year, as the soft cliffs erode away. And now the edge of the cliff is just 90cm from the edge of the roadside… meaning that it won’t be long before the whole thing goes. When it does, there’s so far no intention to replace it, and so that through-route will be lost – although it will still be easy enough to go along the road as far as it goes, from either side. Needless to say that’s causing some local controversy.

Military road landslip, Isle of Wight

 

The Ranger went down to have a farewell journey along the old road before it finally fell in and took the opportunity to have a closer look than one normally gets when zooming by in a car. Of course, as ever on the Island, it turned out to have a wildlife aspect to it. Continue reading

Tetrapods: the concrete Canutes?

Down at the sea-wall the giants have been playing Jacks:

Tetrapods, Bonchurch

These are tetrapods: giant four-pointed concrete structures popular in the 1970s and 1980s for sea defence. First invented in France in 1950, a huge number of variations now exist. Although in the UK they are now out of vogue, they can still be seen at many coastal locations, where their strange, jumbled structure, defiantly un-natural in appearance, has the feel of an art installation. Elsewhere in the world their popularity remains undiminished. In Pacific countries and Japan particularly the tetrapod is a mainstay of coastal engineering: by 1993, 55 percent of the entire coast of Japan had been altered by concrete in one form or another, including any of the many different shapes and sizes of tetrapod manufactured there. But do they work, and are they worth it? Continue reading

A meeting where we really did talk a load of… rubbish.

The Ranger gets to go to lots of meetings, especially now he’s old enough to be a manager and doesn’t spend much time actually doing any work on the ground. After all, what are managers for if not having meetings? So at a recent meeting I got to talk plenty about issues surrounding beach management. It was actually quite interesting – despite the headline – and we certainly did talk a load of rubbish, with one of the topics the issue of what to do when a great deal of it washes up on the shore. Not a trivial matter.

Bubbling sewage

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Landslides don’t destroy coastlines, they create them

The Guardian irritatingly brays:

Fossil hunters warned off as landslide destroys Jurassic coastline
Fossil hunters were warned to keep away today after a landslide described as the “biggest in 100 years” destroyed 400 metres of world heritage coastline. Experts were assessing the damage along the Jurassic coast between Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset after the rock fall yesterday evening.

They really have missed the point here.

Mudslide at Charmouth © Juicy Geography

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Dealing with the wood-slick… 18th century style

The Ranger’s office has been furiously busy over the last few days since the sinking of the Ice Prince on the 14th January. Over 2000 tonnes of timber on deck has broken loose and is drifting eastwards. Most of it seems likely to miss the Isle of Wight and is washing up in Sussex, but a bit has made landfall at Yaverland, near Sandown.

Wood from the Ice Prince, Yaverland

Wood from the Ice Prince, Yaverland

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Sea defence off course in Aberdeen

The BBC reports a spat between Montrose golf course and the city of Aberdeen:

About 100,000 tonnes of sand has been earmarked to be taken from Montrose to shore up the Aberdeen beachfront. However golfers in the Angus town say the proposal means that their erosion threatened course could be sacrificed.

There’s a long story behind all this, as ever. It seems that Aberdeen’s ‘golden mile’ was threatened when a storm began washing away the sand in 2003. Predictions suggested that the entire beach could be lost in 100 years’ time. Rejecting the cheaper and much uglier rock armour solution, the more expensive beach recharge method was chosen, whereby sand is pumped onto the beach from offshore, having been dredged up from elsewhere. There was also a bit of a turf war between the Scottish Executive and Aberdeen, involving lots of large sums of money, but if you want to know about that you can go and read about it somewhere else. The end result was a scheme that costs