Applied Coastal Geomorphology

Part of the series Geographical Readings pp 116-137

Land Loss at Holderness

  • Hartmut Valentin


Along the coast of the North Sea, between Flamborough Head and Kilnsea, the low hills of Holderness reach the coast and form cliffs. These hills are composed of ground moraine, terminal moraine and fluvio-glacial deposits; they make a 61·5-km. stretch of cliffs which rises to a maximum height of 35 m. From the crest of these cliffs it is immediately apparent that the land is retreating under the attack of the sea. At one point bunkers built on the top of the cliff in 1940–1 have tumbled to the beach and are now piles of rubble; in the same place blocks of concrete that had been placed at the foot of the cliff are now seen many metres to seaward. At another place a coast road that is shown on the latest map as passable is now interrupted. Everywhere the bare cliffs, devoid of vegetation, bear witness to the continuing destruction by the sea; indeed, this is a textbook example (Valentin, 1952, p. 57).