The Geography Department


The Bawdsey Flags   

March 9 2005  First contact

May 14  2005  Site meeting

May 31  2005  Update


June 21 2005  Expedition to cut weeds

June 28 2005  Job Done!


July 30 2005   - two flags gone and another going!


March 2006 update

July 2006 update


September 2006 update


February 2007 - a new beach!


June 28 2005  Shingle Street

July 30 2005   Shingle Street


Flags site

Iain Murray's photos


February 15 2006




The footpath from the car park at the seaward end of East  Lane has been closed due to rapid erosion - of the protected section of coast!  This new pathway, with pristine metalling, come under threat from erosion behind the rip rap.

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The rip rap does not, for 20-30 metres, extend the full height of the cliffs, and the waves have got to the cliffs at high tides. The southern end of the rip-rap, on the right, is being outflanked by the embayment where the flags used to be.

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A classic rotational slump, and another 1-2 metres heads seawards!

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Left and right photos show the threat to the defences, and the Martello Tower, from an outflanking of the rip-rap.

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Amidst the mayhem at the cliff's edge, some cabbages that were too close to the edge to be harvested. When they were sown, of course, the machinery  must have had plenty of clearance.

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The line of the most recent footpath is still visible.


The pillbox edges offshore as more slumps subside in the foreground.


Cracks emerging in the dank and somewhat slimy soil at the top of the cliff..

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Rapid cliff erosion is moving southwards, into the more vegetated slopes behind the beach (centre and right photos).

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The same phenomena from the beach, with vegetated clumps arriving on the beach, and sands overflowing the basal clay.

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Views of the beach, from the pillbox reference point. and of the loss of cliffs and their drainage pipes.

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Three more falls, and a view of the cryoturbation in the Red Crag.

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Sands, clay and old concrete slabs litter the beach. The clay becomes granular and breaks up into pellets.

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14 July 2006




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The rip rap from the headland to the Martello Tower was simply not finished, and the right-hand shot shows the result. The rip rap has been overwhelmed and the cliff behind has found itself under attack at high water and with high wave energy. A stock of boulders still lies unused in the field next to the car park - what happened?

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South of the Martello Tower the embayment made famous by the flags has continued to enlarge itself, and the erosion sequence has processed towards the south. At the moment it is short of eroding the deep, steep beach deposits that continue towards the mouth of the Deben ... but in the next six months .....

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... the littoral cell will start to shift large amounts of material towards the South. This will add considerably to the rapidly-developing spit system there ... see  Felixstowe Ferry July 2006


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