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Thorpeness - Sizewell

 

Coastal erosion at Thorpeness.

 

4 June 2010

 

 

 

 

Thorpeness

 

 

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Thorpeness beach was somewhat narrower than I remember for a decade ago. and much steeper towards the water's edge. The centre shot indicates the steep slope.

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A bit of colour from the fronting properties, left and right, before, centre, the source of the coastal defence problem becomes visible. An article in the East Anglian Daily Times, about old defences that have been newly-exposed by erosion, prompted the visit.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/residents_homes_under_threat_from_the_ravages_of_the_sea_1_301501

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The gabions

 

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Storage for the digger is a cage on the shingle beach, above a steep beach slope, right, and beyond lies the gabions. High water cuts the access along the beach due to lowered beach levels.

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New gabions being installed against the low, sandy cliffs. The structure is backed with geotextiles , left and centre. Beyond the wire cages, made up as cubes and then stacked, lie wire caged stones in repose, against the cliff slope.

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More detail on the types of gabions employed. It appears that recent erosion has revealed these former defences, which now need further attention in the face of beach lowering.

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A pair of workmen were in attendance in a tracked vehicle, essential for working around high tide, and the left-hand shot clearly shows the lowered beach.

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The beach at Thorpeness is largely of graded shingle, with a narrow foreshore of more sandy material; it is the shingle that has been removed from Thorpe Ness. On the right flint boulders are being placed in wire mesh.

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At the northern end of the gabions there is a reinforcing wall of gabion cubes, but beyond can be see rapid cliff erosion.

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Seen looking back from further out on the Ness, the gabion field's significance in defending cliff-top property, and the lack of a viable shingle beach, becomes more evident.

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The end of the defences produce their inevitable result, especially in this fine sand. A fence is left hanging .. and the sandy beach is lettered with fallen clods of sand.

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An old concrete block house lies broken up on the beach, as the cliff has retreated a dozen metres past its last position on the cliff top.

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The Ness feature begins to protect the low cliffs, allowing them to vegetate, although further south the lost beach is evident.

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Sand Martins have made their nests in the soft sand.

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Thorpe Ness.

 

 

North of the Ness

 

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To the north of Thorpeness the coastline is protected by much wider shingle beaches. Just as well as Sizewell nuclear station has no other protection from the ravages of the North Sea!

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A mass of parallel ridges mark the northern flank of the Ness, and although clear evidence of inundation is seen in left and right photos, the higher shingle has been able to vegetate itself.

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The Ness, left, and then to the north the shingle and surf ... and Sizewell 'A'.

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The large grey mass is Sizewell 'A', presently being decommissioned, with just the blue turbine house of Sizewell 'B' starting to show. eventually the white dome, over the reactor, come into view.

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Sizewell beach is littered with boats and fishing gear, and always provides endless opportunities for nostalgic photography!

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Sizewell has a car par and a cafe, the Sizewell 'T', and toilets alongside.

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The route back along the low cliffs

 

 

The footpath back is well signed at Sizewell and takes the walker past the old coastguard cottages under and along the low cliffs. In the centre photo the path is diverted under the approach to a conference centre, whilst on the right the paths passes through one of a number of narrow cuts through wind-flattened brushwood.

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The clifftop path is under pressure in a few places, left, but behind the cliffs are extensive areas of heathland .. and a little space on the vegetated Ness!

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On the higher, less frequently flooded levels of the Ness the flora has burgeoned.

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Not a track, but wandering footpath tracks, my coastal route descended from low cliffs to cross the ness before climbing around the higher cliffs and the gabions beneath - see sign above!

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Nearing Thorpeness the 'house in the Cloud' appeared through the developing heat-haze, left, before exiting the heathland onto the road system, right.

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Suffolk AONB footpaths Thorpeness Sizewell cliffs erosion beaches defences maintenance gabions slumps  tourism nuclear power station  flora

 

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