The Geography Department


Dunwich Heath update   May 19  2007

Dunwich Beach 2000


Fieldwork in May 2001

Dunwich Beach 2001  taken  Sunday 13 May 2001

Dunwich Beach Fieldwork & Sizewell 21 May 2001

Dunwich Beach Fieldwork & Thorpeness 24 May 2001


Dunwich Heath - the main areas of study in Spring 2002


Fieldwork in May 2002

Dunwich Beach -Wednesday and Thursday

Dunwich - tourism pressures

Dunwich - management practices


Fieldwork in May 2003

Beach photographs from Mon 20 May and Friday 23 May 2003

Photos from Mr Duncan of the tourist pressures


Fieldwork in May 2004 Sunday 16, Tuesday 25,  and Thursday 27 May


Fieldwork in May 2004

Dunwich Forest and Heath November 2004


Dunwich update April and May 2005


Dunwich beach and Dingle Marsh breach 29 Nov 2006

Dunwich beach and Dingle Marsh update 19 May 2007


Dunwich Heath May 19 2007


Dunwich Heath May 19 2007



The site now sports a number of bright new signs (one already rendered useless by UV sunlight) indicating the new status of open access land ... although many of the footpaths are now blocked off, either to allow them time to regenerate, which is a valid management objective,  or to block off access to the cliff top - which is nanny-state!

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The Coastguard Cottages, left, with bicycle rails and the entrance to the shop and cafe. In the centre is an expanse of round wooden tables for the snack and lunch trade, and on the right the mixture that is Dunwich today- whitewashed buildings, gorse - and cars!

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To the east of the Coastguard cottages a small section of gorse has been severely pruned and, to protect the new growth (should it appear!) a rabbit fence has been erected around it. Centre - all pathways quickly erode to sand so, right, barricades of brushwood block off the routeways (in this case to the cliff top!).

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Signage at Dunwich Heath; on the left at the wide and erosion-deepened footpath across the heath from outside the study centre, whilst on the right is a pair of the new and colourful footpath and bridleway signs on a post coming back from the beach.

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Three views from the cliff-top showing the current state of the cliff system, namely one in which re-vegetation of the slopes is in the ascendancy, as opposed to wave-erosion attacking the base of the cliffs and promoting recession. The small free-face at the top of the cliff is still there, complete with vegetation overhang, but the steep talus slope is being consolidated by increasingly dense vegetation.

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The division between the cliffs of Dunwich Heath and the beach backed by  low dunes in front of the Minsmere reserve.

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The finer material of the upper beach has been pushed through the sheep-hurdle fencing, considerably reducing its height. The location for a good cross-profile of the cliff close to the end of the fencing, centre and, right, a old bricked-up hole is revealed by erosion - which is also goof for checking the scale of the grey soil horizons of the cliff.

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The top of the cliff profile reveals plenty of bird's nest holes and the grey horizons of the humus layers.


'Boulders' of compacted sand/humus and vegetation litter the lower slopes.

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The beach breach at Minsmere; without high cliffs backing the beach a surge just pushes over the top of the beach, eroding sections of vegetated sand as it goes.


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The path behind the beach is sunken at this point, but it has been filled up with sand to the level of the beach by the surge. In the centre is a section of fencing, pushed flat by the surging waters, which overtopped a bund protecting the bird reserve and contaminated the freshwater ecosystem in places.

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The top of the small dune system was ripped off in some places and the clumps of vegetation deposited further back from the beach.

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The path between the dunes and the bund has been filled in by the surge.

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Sand from the beach streaks the back slope of the stabilised  dune system.

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