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Case Study
The Holderness Coast

A stack at Selwicks Bay, Flamborough

The Holderness Coast

The Holderness Coast is located on the east coast of England. It extends 61km from Flamborough in the north to Spurn Point in the south.

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The Holderness Coast is one of Europe's fastest eroding coastlines. The average annual rate of erosion is around 2 metres per year. This is around 2 million tonnes of material every year. Under lying the Holderness Coast is bedrock made up of Cretaceous Chalk. However, in most place this is covered by glacial till deposited over 18,000 years ago. It is this soft boulder clay that is being rapidly eroded.

There are two main reasons why this area of coast is eroding so rapidly. The first is the resuly of the strong prevailing winds creating longshore drift that moves material south along the coastline. The second is that the cliffs are made of soft boulder clay which erodes rapidly when saturated.

The Holderness Coast is a great case study to use when examining coastal processes and the features associated with them. The area contains 'text book' examples of coastal erosion and deposition. The exposed chalk of Flamborough provides examples of erosion, features such as caves, arches and stacks. The soft boulder clay underlying Hornsea provides clear evidence of the erosional power of the sea. Mappleton is an excellent case study of an attempt at coastal management.

Spurn Point provides evidence of longshore drift on the Holderness Coast. It is an excellent example of a spit. Around 3% of the material eroded from the Holderness Coast is deposited here each year.

Online Activities
[Online activities]: n Activities related to this topic
Coastal Erosion - Match up game
Waves - Match up game
Coastal Deposition - Match up game
Coasts Interactive revision diagram
Coastal Processes - Quiz
Coastal Erosion Landforms - Quiz
[Podcast]: n Audio file for playback on mobile devices and personal computers
[Gallery]: n a collection of geographical photographs
Holderness Coast Gallery

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