I was born and brought up in the east of the country, and our nearest seaside was the Norfolk and Suffolk coast and we would go on holiday there, to a holiday camp which if you have seen the British TV comedy ‘Hi-de-Hi’ it was exactly like that. It actually was great and we had some wonderful holidays there in what would seem very primitive conditions now. We would also go on day trips to different places along the coast, so I member that area very well and from quite a few years ago.
It has always been the case along that coastline that the sea would periodically wash away parts of the cliffs, or the sand dunes, biting into the land, taking great chunks whatever was on it, farmland, woods, houses, whole towns. It has always been like that… ever since the time when Britain’s land bridge to the continent was washed away, the sea has gradually been changing the shape of the coastline. Some areas such as the south coast have been silted up, such as the towns and villages which were part of the Cinque Ports, but now are miles inland. The Somerset Levels have in different times in their history been coastal marshes, or inland wetlands, depending on the position of the coast.
I feel tremendously sorry for those people whose properties are being washed away from the cliffs of the east coast, such as the towns of Hemsby where we used to spend our childhood holidays, Happisburgh, where we were on our family holiday this year and the famous lost town of Dunwich, now its remains are miles away beneath the sea. I feel great sympathy for the people who fear they are going to lose their homes, but at the same time… what did they expect? The sea has been nibbling away at the coastline for the last thousand years, and no amount of groynes, or sea defences, or walls of concrete can really prevent this erosion. It’s heartbreaking, it really is… but when they bought their houses they knew that there was risk and danger. It is so sad, but utterly inevitable.
Read this blog to find out more details
Here is a report about one of the families affected: