The Geography Department


Dunwich Heath 2004



Photographs from Sunday 16, Tuesday 25,  and Thursday 27 May





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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




The welcome!  Dunwich Heath and the Visitor.



The entrance to Dunwich Heath, with its signs to manage and inform tourists.



An addition to Dunwich Heath signage, in bright and colourful blue!



The sale of National Trust membership has moved centre-stage, in front of the Coastguard Cottages.

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Some photographs of car-parking impact at Dunwich ...


and its visual implications ....



.. on the landscape.


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Access to the Coastguard Cottages is by a concrete path, if needs be.



A small car park and a few picnic benches, plus a kiosk and donations cairn intercept the visitor on their way to the shop/cafe.


Advertising by any means!



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Parking is controlled by various types of boundaries; in this case wooden pole markers.


Gorse and bracken can act as screens to the parking, but not on  a summer Sunday!


Towards Southwold from the northern side of the Coastguard Cottages.

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Signs to keep away from the cliff top are about ten metres from the edge ....



.. and not just for your own safety!




The end of the road .. looking southwards towards Sizewell across the Minsmere reserve of the RSPB.

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Perhaps there is a point to be made from this shot ..


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Cliffs and beach 2004









The pathway to the beach has been engineered with steps, and sensitive sandy cliff-top areas fenced off.



This gulley was seen to be fenced off in 2003. Foot trails are soon cut deeper by rainwater  .. hence the fencing. Breeding birds are also protected by such measures.


Visitors used to clamber down the cliffs where they fell away to the Minsmere beach, so the gulleys were fenced off.



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The cliffs, with a survey marker and sunken telegraph pole in the foreground. The bands of grey pebbles show well, as does the vegetated lower slopes.


The fenced-off section of cliffs, showing the contorted shape of the cliffs following intense visitor pressure and consequent erosion of the low cliffs.


The cliffs in 2004 were notable for the new sand martin colonies, the one shown here being the largest.


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A collection of photographs ...


.. showing where the surveying ..


.. of the beach  took place.

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The upper part of the cliff shows the rainwater channels or runnels, with several sand martin nest holes. Below is  the marram grass, with an invasion of bracken. The pea-sized shingle of the upper beach completes the picture.


The  thickness of the pebble layer grows rapidly towards the north; within fifty metres it is 3-4 metres thick. Here, falls of pebbles have rolled either side of a marram clump, also fallen down, and looks like a river (or glacier) of stones.


Fresh grass, as well as marram, growing on the toe of a slumped mass of sand and soil. The cliff becomes wet and slumps down under gravity. Telltale cracks in its surface indicate it was once very wet.

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An approximate cross-section of the cliffs with vegetation cover at its foot and a clod of humus-rich sand from near the top of the cliff.



The sand is stained from the deposits of dissolved humus (from the cliff-top vegetation on the heath). The layer extends down to about a metre in places and, at its darkest, is a nutty-brown colour.


Cliff and humus-coloured sand clod. Note the finer size of pebbles high on the beach at this point.



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With Sizewell as  a backdrop a group of students come to the finishing legs of their cross-section.


A group of students work down the beach with their pantometers.



Good timing is essential for the last few metres!


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The beach at Dunwich two hours after low water


The beach shows a succession of berms in coarser deposits, swales are picked out in sand.


Beach cusps, scallop-shaped indentations along the shoreline, towards Sizewell in the south.

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A sequence of four photographs from Thursday, 27 May showing the movement of pebbles on Dunwich Beach.


Large pebbles are painted florescent red, medium pebbles in yellow and the smaller pebbles in green.


The first photo shows the group of stones as the first wave approaches. The photo is angled slightly to the south; the left-hand pole being the northern marker.


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The first movement is up-and-down the beach, not along it to any extent.




On a rising tide the net movement, at least of the larger stones, is up the beach, and to the south. Smaller yellow and green pebbles are lower down the beach,




With a little more longshore drift to the south to show for several minutes of waves, pebble movement is still largely up and down the beach. Some of the smaller green pebbles have already been lost offshore.

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Footpaths and the Heath




A stretch of heathland as seen from just off the access road. This area has not been mowed for a number of years and species other than heather are starting to make progress by invasion.


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A newly-cut path, and, in the distance, the old one blocked off.


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The footpath to the west of the Education Centre, has not been blocked off, probably for lack of an alternative route at present. the paths shows significant signs of erosion, from its depth, its width, and the subsidiary routes that have braided off from the main channel.




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To the north of the Coast guard Cottages two paths have been closed, and replaced by just one . The replacement path, on the left, has been freshly-cleared out of the heather and as yet shows no erosion at all.





Spirit of Dunwich .... relaxing on a quiet Sunday afternoon, on a bench, flanked by gorse in bloom, warmed by bright sunshine and with a sea view.


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Fieldwork 2005