Wednesday 20 May 2009

Washed away

We've been working away at the southern end of Holderness again, last Sunday we looked at Winestead, Rimswell and Tunstall; today we reached Patrington, Holmpton and Out Newton. Sunday's run was mostly along small country roads - the villages are very small and simple to map. To start today's session we looked at Patrington. We added a bit of Patrington months ago when we visited Sunk Island. We've been though it many times on the way to Spurn Point, the sandy spit that sticks out into the mouth of the Humber, which is a pretty special nature reserve. Patrington is a set of small, twisty roads that were soon completed. We then set off for Holmpton.

Holmpton was a pretty place with rolling little hedge lined lanes, but in spite of the drop in house prices there were quite a few houses for sale in such a small place. A trip along Seaside Road shows you why - the villages is being washed away into the North Sea. Tunstall is suffering the same fate. Part of the road that the National Byway Holderness Loop is on has washed away; the cycle route has been diverted.

We then headed along a little road to Out Newton which is a small, spread out place on the way towards Easington. We have yet to map Easington which has a huge gas terminal on the outskirts of the village. The gas terminal receives most of the gas from the North Sea rigs and also from a new pipeline from Norway to supplement our own dwindling supplies. The police have permanent armed patrols at the gas terminal to deter attacks from the omnipotent terrorist, so driving around taking photos might not go down well.

We need to find a way to trace the new coastline. Walking the cliffs is dangerous and much of it is private property. Walking the beach is difficult because the high tide reaches the foot of the cliffs, which is why the soft boulder clay washes away. The cliffs are receding by many metres each year where they are allowed to, so the aerial photos are already out-of-date. The existing coastal defences are being abandoned except at big or important places like Withernsea or Easington.

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