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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!

September 2007 update

 

June 28 2005  Shingle Street

July 30 2005   Shingle Street

 

Flags site

Ian Murray's photos

East Anglian Daily Times article 'New homes could save our coastline'  30 March 2007

 

 

September 20 2007

 

 

 

The rip-rap at the Martello Tower sits on a geotextile blanket and s still pristine in its upper tracts, but has taken on the deep green of seaweed near sea level. The pillbox was still surrounded by waves at quite a low tide.

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From the promontory at East Lane, southwards to the Martello Tower, is rip-rap, backed by weak low clay cliffs, sheet piling and concrete breastworks ... which even has a sloping glacis  ...

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... but as I have described before, where the rock armour does not reach the top of the cliff, the sea eats away the soft clay from behind, outflanking the defences. In view of the plan to use the finances from private housing to defend the coast at this point, they had better get those defences working properly!

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The beach to the south of the Martello Tower can now be divided into three zones; the high beach of shingle, an apron of  seaweed-covered flat cay, and a small area of sandy beach.

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The ridges on the shingle beach can be seen in suitable light .. and there is a distinct storm ridge, behind which runs a depression before the low backing cliffs.

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The shingle overflows onto the clay basement, which resists removal so much better than the sandy cliffs (as seen by the seaweed colonisation) and still supports a pillbox from the 1940's.

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After a period when art was constructed at this place, the theme is taken up by old sea defences! In the centre is an area or cryo-perturbation that I will walk past nearer on my return.

 

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The landscape of shingle and green-covered clay - lethal to walk on!

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I have tried to indicate the slope of the beach, but it defies photography ... but perhaps the centre shot helps give an impression of the steep face of the beach and its proportions. The right-hand shot shows the concrete surrounds of the pillbox being moved away from the main structure.

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At  this time, after at least a month without substantial rainfall, the clay dries out and flakes off the free-face - for once exceeding the erosional rates of the sandy crag above.

 

 

Cabbage grows on the scree of the low cliff, remnants of  the last crop bar one!

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The interface between crag and clay is being highlighted as the clay contracts and breaks away from the cliff. contorted too, are deposits of small white stones  close to this boundary. It looks like rabbits have colonised the low cliff in its first season of relative safety.

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A brash-line of seashells marks the higher reaches of the pushed-up beach - with convenient plastic scale-object!

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The three elements of the new beach system - steep shingle ridges, seaweed-encrusted clay basement .. and a precious few metres of golden sands!

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A last look;  the depositional features contained in this small bay are  a far cry from the sterile landforms being created and destroyed when the sea was eroding at such a pace, the winter before last - the winter of the flags!

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