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Does management affect coastal processes at Walton-on-the-Naze?

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Introduction

Walton-on-the-Naze is a small retirement town, located near Colchester via the A133 with a population of 40,000. Run by tendering local authority it relies mostly on tourism economically, which is one of the reasons they have a coastal management scheme which has recently been extended to the north to protect the luxurious houses situated there. In the course of this project I will be investigating the ways in which management has been used in Walton-on-the-Naze to prevent and encourage different coastal processes in order to stop the cliff retreating and then comparing this to the unprotected cliffs and beaches in Walton to find out if management truly does affect the coastal processes present there. Coastal processes affect our lives. Our families pay taxes to go towards coastal protection etc. which is essential for the whole town to function and benefit the whole community. I have decided to study Walton-on-the-Naze for a number of reasons. Firstly it is the nearest place along the coast to Southend which has unprotected cliffs as well as protected ones. At Walton the geology is the same and the processes are very similar along with the protection. Also Walton is subjected to much more energy from the sea than Southend. There are various ways the coast can be managed, firstly I will explain how the cliffs can be protected. Cliffs are protected in two places, the cliff face and the cliff foot. ...read more.

Middle

Instead sea walls and tidal barriers are put in place to reduce the energy of the destructive waves produced crashing against the cliffs. If this management was not put in place coasts would be forever retreating causing chaos and destruction that would not be tolerable in today's society. Now I will go on to describe the coastal processes involved. There are 4 main types of coastal processes that affect the cliffs and coast at Walton-on-the-Naze, these are: 1. Destructive Waves (erosion) 2. Long shore Drift 3. Slumping 4. Deposition Some of these processes must be encouraged and some must be discouraged in order for management to be successful. Destructive waves and erosion along with long shore drift and slumping must be discouraged whereas deposition must be encouraged, next I will go on to explain what each of these processes is, does to the coast and why they must be either encouraged or discouraged. The coast is a narrow contact zone between land and sea. The effects of land, air and marine processes are constantly changing it. But on most coastlines the dominant process results from the action of waves. Although destructive waves are usually resultant from storms out at sea and have much more energy than 'common' constructive waves and usually do a lot more damage. Waves are usually created by the transfer of energy from wind blowing over the surface of the sea. ...read more.

Conclusion

When a wave breaks, the swash carries material up the beach at the same angle at which the wave approached the shore; then the backwash returns material straight down the beach at right-angles to the water, by gravity. The outcome is that material is slowly moved along the beach in a zigzag course. The effect of longshore drift or LSD can be best seen where groynes have been built to prevent this material from being moved along the beach and so there is a build up of sand on one side of the groyne in each case. There are many examples of this in Walton-on-the-Naze (see photos section.) Slumping Slumping is the movement of unconsolidated material (moraine) under gravity. The rock particles in the cliff are held together by frictional forces which are overcome by a build up of 'pore water pressure' owing to saturation by prolonged rain. That is to say that when water infiltrates the cliff it causes the rock to 'slump' or slide over each other. Of course a wave-cut notch will have already formed at the rock foot, causing the immense pressure above, see diagram overleaf. Deposition Shingle and sand being transported along the coast by longshore drift will, in time, reach an area where the water is sheltered and the waves have no energy, e.g. a bay. The material may be temporarily deposited because there is no longer any energy left to carry them, this could then form a beach. ...read more.

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