The Fastest Eroding Coast in Europe

Along the Yorkshire coast from Flamborough Head to Spurn Head, the coast is eroding faster than anywhere else in Europe.  The coastline loses an average of 5 feet of land every year and about 29 villages have been lost to the sea since the Roman Empire.  This area is bounded by the North Sea with the Humber estuary in the south.  The reason for this extreme erosion is mostly because the area is very flat and swampy and is underlain by a soft clay that easily erodes.

The sediment is taken from the north and transported down south to Spurn Head.  Spurn Head is a spit, which is a narrow stretch of land extending into the sea.  Spurn Head gains about 3% of the sediment that the northern coast loses.  Although measures have been taken to slow the loss of sediment, like seawalls and jetties, the land is still being lost to the sea at fast rates.  It doesn’t help that the land is subsiding and sinking at 3mm per year and the sea level is also rising.

This figure shows the amount of land that has been lost in orange and the present coastline in green.  It also shows the towns that have been lost over the last several hundreds of years.

These figures show how the coastline will look in 1000 years.  Map A assumes there will be no more sea level rise, so Map B is more likely.

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