The Coastal Defences At Reculver Essay

1733 words - 7 pages ✓ Expert Reviewed

In Roman times St. Mary's Church was built with Twin Towers as part of
the building. Originally the church was 3kms away from the sea but as
the cliff was eroded it eventually became next to the see. There was a
danger the cliff under the Twin Towers and therefore the Twin Towers
themselves would be destroyed by erosion. To stop this happening many
coastal defences and different types of management have been erected.

The initial try at coastal management was in 1809. Wooden and ragstone
blocks were place at the foot of the Twin Towers to protect them. The
apron of rocks (revetment) sheltered the cliff foot and face. A small
number of wooden groynes were also put on to the beaches on both sides
of the Towers to preserve the shingle beach and therefore using the
shingle beach as a defence.

Then after the devastating floods in 1953, in which North Kent was
badly affected, a lot of building of hard defences to minimise the
risk of more floods and the damage that is associated with them. A
straight concrete sea wall from Reculver to Minnis Bay near Margate,
4.5 kms long, was built. The sea wall protected the low-lying farmland
and in addition to this the railway that links Ramsgate and London. A
smaller recurved concrete sea wall was built west of the Towers to
avert flooding at Reculver. Additional wooden groynes were sited on
the beaches to delay longshore drift and maintain the shingle beaches,
which itself is a defence. In the 1960s the houses at Bishopstone Glen
were in danger of being destroyed because the soft clay and sandstone
cliffs underneath them were so unstable. As a result another sea wall
was built, this time underneath the cliffs. Plus an extra line of
wooden groynes was constructed to protect the sea wall by save even
more of the shingle beach. As well as this the clay layer was regraded
so it had a less steep slope. This stops the cliff sliding and drains
put in to take away excess water. Grass and other types of vegetation
were planted so that the roots secure the surface together. A
monitoring system was also set up to detect movements in the cliff.

In the 1980s the coastal management schemes at Bishopstone Glen were
extended. As there is a protected area, S.S.S.I. (Site of Special
Scientific Interest), a less discordant approach was needed. The sea
wall was not harmonious so instead of extending it, a layer of riprap,
was placed there to absorb the energy of the waves. The cliff top was
graded and grassed over again to avoid any more slumps in the clay
layer.

In 1995 the Environment Agency and Canterbury City Council spent £4.5
million upgrading the coastal defences at Reculver. A beach
nourishment scheme had already started; shingle was brought in by
lorry and put on the beach each winter. The wooden groynes were in a
poor state and were replaced with...

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