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Coastal protection and erosion in Sidmouth. Sidmouth is a thriving seaside town near Exeter in Devon. As it experiences coastal erosion, many different erosion features can be found there. Sidmouth has protected and unprotected areas of coast. The protected are has a number of strategies to try to prevent erosion. The unprotected site experiences much erosion, and the cliffs slump and have other erosion problems. The protected area is directly in front of the town centre, and locals call it Town Beach. The waves at Sidmouth are powerful at times, and if it were not for the coastal defences, much of the town would have been lost to the sea.
Coastal defences cost a lot of money, and as the town has tried to make the beaches look aesthetically pleasing, it has imported large heavy boulders as opposed to other cheaper materials. However, the coastal defences built to protect Town Beach have caused erosion problems at areas with no coastal defences, such as Jacob's ladder Beach. The unprotected area is known as Jacob's ladder Beach. The site behind this beach is of low land use and has little value, so there is no need to protect this part of the coast. There is little property at risk behind the cliffs. These are made of red sandstone, a soft rock, and are therefore vulnerable to erosion.
The rocks at the base of the cliff are actively eroded by the sea and the cliffs slump when they are deprived of support from below and are attacked by weathering and erosion. A few houses on the cliff are in imminent danger of collapse. House on the edge of collapse. Unprotected site (Jacob's ladder Beach) - the land behind this beach is of low value land use. Protected site (Town Beach) - the land behind this beach is of high value land use. Offshore breakwaters protect the shore against waves. Rip rap is placed in front of the cliff, to reduce the force of the waves and prevent undercutting. Footpaths limit foot erosion. Sea walls reduce erosion by deflecting the waves. Groynes prevent material being carried away by long shore drift.
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