New Sea Defences at Withernsea

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The front of Withernsea has extensive coastal defences including a sea wall, groynes and rock armour. To the south of Withernsea the sea defences were extended using rock armour. However, over time this has led to increased rates of erosion to the south of the defences as sediment is trapped by groynes along the front of Withernsea. Eroded material is not replaced leaving a very gently sloping beach which, even during neap tides, leads to the sea reaching the base of the cliff increasing erosion. This stretch of land is some of the most rapidly eroding along the Holderness Coast. 

Withernsea - Terminal Groyne Effect
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Withernsea – Terminal Groyne Effect

The increased rate of erosion has led to the rapid loss of land, particularly along the front of the Golden Sands Holiday Park. More than 20 holiday homes have had to be either demolished or moved in the last few years. Also under threat is the main road connecting the village of Holmpton to the town of Withernsea. 

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Erosion at Golden Sands Holiday Park between 2018 and 2020

To protect Holmpton Road, local houses and businesses being lost to coastal erosion new sea defences are being installed. Four hundred metres of rock armour is being installed along this stretch of coast. A total of 63,000 tonnes of anorthosite, a rock similar to granite, will be transported from Norway to the site off Golden Sands Holiday Park over the next few months. The project will protect about 70 homes and more than 250 holiday chalets and static caravans.

A £3m grant, which allowed the £7 million scheme to go ahead after other bids had failed, was provided by the European Regional Development Fund at the end of last year.

The rock is being transported from the quayside quarryin Rekefjord, on the southern coast of Norway, and is being transported in 5000 tonne shipments by barge. The rocks are then dropped from the barge using heavy machinery when weather conditions are favourable. When the tide goes out the rock is then transported up the beach. 

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Rock being dropped from a barge

Each rock weighs between one and ten tonnes and will be used to create an interlocking rock structure, designed to prevent the sea from eroding the cliffs.

Construction started in May 2020 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The cliffs to the south of Withernsea Cliffs are currently being re-profiled and rock armour is being placed onto the newly gently sloping cliffs and along their base. 

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Cliff reprofiling and the first installation of rock armour

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