The Geography Department






Happisburgh  22 August 2005


North Norfolk and Happisburgh Index




An overview of Happisburgh and the cliffs to the south; in the foreground a 'beach' of  plateau-level clay!

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the rip-rap and steel scaffolding are now being outflanked, and the cliff is retreating northwards again.


The busy-looking landscape from the end of the road.


Very few defences remain to guard the end of the road.

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The photo on the left shows a bench in the clay being scoured at nearly high tide; the centre is a close-up of the debris accumulating on the ledge. To the right is the situation at the bend in the coast, where minimal defences remain and erosion is recommencing.

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High tidal conditions allow the beach on the clay layers to be attacked, directly striking the sands of the crag above.

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Rapid erosion of the crag is shown by the overhang of still-growing vegetation, and the new footpath through the growing crops.

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Some views of  the cliff recession and its affects on a recent footpath; the loss of  maturing crops is also evident. (centre)

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A shot of the clay ledge, left, and a close-up of the central area of that photograph. On the right the waves are attacking the sands.

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At high tide the waves wash over the clay ledge, taking occasional bites from the sands behind.


The distance from the lighthouse to the marker (3-4 metres from the cliff) has been measured at 250 Metres.


High energy waves pummelling the clay band, and turning the sea brown!

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A trio of photographs featuring the clay bench and its surprising ability to take considerable punishment from wave action.

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The southern end of the new bay ends with the permanent defences of Cart Gap. Although embayments are the order of the day from Happisburgh southwards, the final 2-300 metres is occupied by a beach fronting a more linear coastline, and there is no clay ledge.

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The beach





After visiting the stark scenes of desolation to the south of the car park, it is good to see the beach employed for leisure, even if on a small scale. The old lifeboat ramp is on the left, and on the right a typical Norfolk scene of cliffs, caravans .. and revetments!

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The ramp serving access to the beach from the lifeguard station is still being broken up, although much of the heavy concrete adjoining the beach has been removed by the pounding.

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Slumped material spills onto the beach, where wave action removes it after creating new low cliffs. Increasingly, the deposits are a mixture of the natural cliff and debris from the habitation above.

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The foreshore is continually swept by waves despite the relic rip-rap defence, now 30 metres offshore!

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Multiple lines of defence left is multiple lines of disarray (left), outflanked (centre) and the last line of defence, the clay (right).

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The proximity of  the cliff, with vertical free-faces, to the rear of the 2-storey houses.


The scaffolding pipes are still putting up a valiant defence!


The reef-line of inadequate (laughably so) rip-rap.

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Embayments are cutting back into the gardens of the last two bungalows, and taking the garage and outbuildings of the terraced houses .. including Cliff House. See Mike Page's aerial photos of Sept 9 2005.

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Norfolk Happisburgh Beach Road coast erosion gullying defences neglect revetments rip rap groynes beaches lighthouse sea walls lifeboat station access leisure beach cusps mobile flows weathering mass movement


North Norfolk and Happisburgh Index