The Geography Department




Happisburgh 31 August 2002                            



North Norfolk and Happisburgh Index





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Both of these photographs show the results of forced demolition of properties at Happisburgh. The council has insisted upon the work so large debris will not fall onto the beach when the cliff eventually claims them - if it is still there.


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The instruments of destruction remain on site. To the left, looking south, the view is one of a coastline retreating northwards towards the digger. On the right the sea is also attacking directly into the coastline from the east. 


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The notch at Happisburgh. The coastline takes a bite out of the land at the point where the revetments end. This bite is cutting back northwards and taking the last of a line of bungalows as it advances.



Cliff House


Excellent food and hospitality for all who visit Happisburgh beach. The establishment has a number of fine aerial photographs of the area .. but be warned, the food is substantial!


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The road which served the bungalows is a good marker of retreat.


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The ruins of the end of the sea defence scheme.  There is little problem north or south of this disaster area.






The remains of a bungalow, marked only by this pipe cover.


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Three bungalows remain.  The restaurant and B+B business is in the large house.


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Clay foreshore.  The beach in the distance suggests where there might be local deposition.


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The lighthouse is now near the sea!




The sands are even softer than the clay beneath!


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This photo was taken from the wheel ruts of the edge of the last crop planting .. at the point where they go over the cliff!


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The common coastal problem geology - clay at sea level - easily attacked by marine and sub-aerial processes. 





The clay cliff-bench shows well here. Some slumping is visible on the north shore of this small bay.


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A large file for those who would like a larger copy. The embayments etched into the coastline to the south of the defences is noteworthy. Otherwise this photo will sadly, too soon, have only historical significance.


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The demise of the sea defences at the southern end of Happisburgh. Here a new mini-embayment is being created .. quickly!



Erosion is revealing an old rubbish dump, which had foundations on top.


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Are these people's homes, charming individual holiday lets, essential cheap housing, or an eyesore on a heritage coast?


The revetment style of defence seems to have no effect on the wave energy at this tide level.  If anything, there is often scouring of the beaches behind these structures all along the coast.  Remains of at least two older defences can be picked out in the water.


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The ramp at Happisburgh is a massive construction of steel, concrete and wood. It is pounded at high tide .. as on this day. See it at low water in the 2001 photos.

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High tide fills the gap between wooden revetments and the decaying steel and concrete defences at Happisburgh. There is still plenty of wave energy getting through, however.



The same scene from above: concrete-filled sheet-piling gives way to steel/wood/concrete .. and then, to the south, the defences have been washed away.


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The waves showing a little of their power at the slipway. Access to the north beach is via the gap in the revetment railings!


The groyne once met the cliff face, and should be buried in the beach, but beach-lowering has made the structure redundant. The wooden revetments are clearly from a later date.


Even tropical hardwood has a fairly short life; waves being contained by the revetment.




The beach north of the slipway; a section of recently-eroded cliff remains vertically above the beach.



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Norfolk Happisburgh Beach Road Cliff House  coast erosion defences neglect revetments rip rap groynes beaches  lighthouse  lifeboat station

North Norfolk and Happisburgh Index