The Geography Department


Dunwich Heath Fieldwork






Wednesday May 22  and Thursday 23 May 2002





The cliffs, beach and longshore drift - Wednesday



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




Concerns for the nesting sand-martins have led the National Trust to fence off, and signpost, the area of cliff from human invaders.


The southernmost part of the cliffs at Dunwich Heath


Sand-martins nest near the cliff-tops. they contribute to erosion of the cliff, as does running water from rainfall .. note the two parallel runnels on the sand  face.

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Looking at the cross-profile of the cliffs and sketching it, with labels, and with photographs ready to be labelled.


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The sign on the fenced-off section of cliff, asking for the public's co-operation in protecting the habitat of the cliffs.


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Wednesday's groups hit the beach with the tide approaching its lowest - hence the exposure of the sandy lower beach.


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Pantometer crews moving down the beach.


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The last few  pantometer lengths before the sea - a test of nerve!



The stones (yellow for medium and red for large) are laid out on the sand between waves.


Groups should have noted down the changing size of the beach material they passed over.

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Cliff-slumping onto the beach is evident at the southern end of the cliffs. The material has NOT been affected by wave action as yet.


Whilst the cliff sketches are being made the pantometers are made ready ...



.... and the longshore drift show is set up in the shallows!



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Starting off the first line with the pantometer. The end of the cliff fencing and the pole embedded in the beach was  chosen as a marker.


The pantometer run ends only when the sea is reached!




Getting down to reading the pantometer!



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A sequence of views of the longshore drift experiment. On both days the winds were strongly from the south. In this first shot the stones have been laid down by the southern marker.


After just one weave the stones have been moved up the beach and northwards, against the prevailing direction of longshore drift at this point.


Another wave and much material has been washed down and offshore; the rest continues northwards. If the coloured stones were placed too near the surf they were lost offshore immediately!

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The view to the north. The bright area, or newly-exposed cliff, was investigated by the last two groups on Thursday.


The dull extent of the high cliffs to the north. the site has an overhand of vegetation, bird nest holes, fallen clumps of soil and scree slopes of sand.


The group prepares to walk back for lunch .. against a cloudless sky!


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Beach and northern cliffs, with thick bands of pebbles, and debris falling to beach level.


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The sea appears not to have scoured the foot of the cliffs for some time, as these fallen blocks of brown/black humus-rich sand indicate. Indeed, a storm beach has built up and the base of the cliffs are a half metre lower than this ridge.


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The thick layer of pebbles from photo. 31. Above this layer the sand martin's nests, where the birds had been active earlier in the day.


Detail of the scree slope of fine sand and the fallen lumps of cliff-top vegetation .. a close shot from photo 31.



The alternating layers of sand and pebbles are reflected in the cliff cross-profile. the slope on the pebbles is near-vertical.

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Fieldwork 2005