Geography AS - Coasts



  • Land – relief, structure, sub aerial processes and shape
  • Weather and Climate – wind strength and direction
  • Sea – Coastal (marine) ecosystems, wave energy and direction
  • Human Activities – use of land for development
  • Geology: Harder rock (e.g. Granite) erodes slower and thus has a slower rate of erosion
  • Wave energy and direction: Dictate erosion – e.g. destructive waves erode more and faster
  • Longshore Drift: Longshore Drift results in a higher rate of erosion – as sediment moves away, which leaves an exposed cliff face.
  • Biodiversity - Flatland and fertile soil
  • Equable Climate
  • Farming/ Agriculture
  • Transport and trade
  • Recreation and Tourism
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Coral Reefs, Salt Marshes and Mangroves

  • Salt Marshes – Farmland and a good place for bird nesting  - contains creeks that reduce wave energy
  • Coral Reefs – Biodiversity, coastal protection and tourism appeal - increased human activity and over-fishing damage them which leads to a decrease in tourism, loss of jobs and reduction in biodiversity
  • Mangroves – habitats for wildlife and provide vital nurseries for young fish - protection against storms and flood surges
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Coastal Defences

Hold down the line – Maintain or enhance existing defences – e.g. Sea Walls

Managed Retreat – Beach Replenishment, riprap and groynes (Coast-effective)

Do nothing – conscious decision – cost-effective and allows time for research

Advancing the line – moving coast forward (e.g. Japan) by draining areas of the sea

  • Embankments: cheap and protect areas – but cause coastal squeeze
  • Groynes: low cost and easily repaired – causes starvation downwind
  • Riprap: effective, cheap and looks natural – expensive
  • Cliff Regarding: works well in clay cliffs – uses up large areas of land
  • Offshore Reefs: cost-effective and looks natural – lol and causes pollution
  • Dune Regeneration: effective – public access control
  • Beach Replenishment: natural looking – expensive and has ecological impacts
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Coastal Defenses - Case Studies

Blackpool: (Hold the line)

  • Concrete sea wall, access improved, high amounts of funding and south Blackpool uses sand dune regeneration

Abbotts Hall Farm: (Managed Retreat)

  • 5 gaps made in old embankments whilst new embankments are built
  • Nature tourism and more habitat
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ICZM, SMP and Tsunamis

  • ICZM: A plan for whole coastal area – e.g. Humber River and surrounding areas (e.g. Tourism, Industry, climate…)
  • SMP: A plan for just one shoreline – e.g. The Holderness Coastline with smaller individual plans for each town


  • Caused by mass displacement of water (e.g. underwater earthquakes)
  • The shallow sea bed, near land, causes the wave to slow down and gain height. This causes the Tsunami to become a “wall” of water
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Sea Level Rise and Thames Estuary

Caused by Climate Change - which results in bigger storm surges and more common localised flooding

Consequences: Coastal flooding results in loss of habitat, loss of life and damaged property

Solutions: More maintenance of coastal defences (e.g. Curved sea walls) and construction of more enhanced sea defences

Thames Estuary and Barrier:

  • The Thames Barrier: Protects inner London from high storm surges by raising a large barrier when high sea levels are triggered.
  • The Thames Estuary: An area of land in front of the Thames Barrier put on development for housing – has a large risk of flooding due to being located on a Floodplains
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Case Studies

Case Study: Dibden Bay

  • Dibden Bay is an area of land developed for a shipping container port, with consequences and benefits to the surrounding area.
  • Consequences: Large amounts of pollution, increased congestion, damage to local environment…
  • Benefits: Increase in local employment, economic boost, development to local area – e.g. better quality roads for locals…

Case Study: Heritage (e.g. Dorset Coast)

Geology: The Dorset Coast has many varying rock types which alternate. These cause the formation of bays or small coves – e.g. Lulworth Cove

Ecology: The Dorset Coastline contains sites of dune, which house rare plants and many species of birds. Inland cattle grazing and some housing.

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Case Studies

Case Study: Blackpool and Lancashire Coastal Plain

  • Geology – (coal, iron and clay) provides supplies and economic opportunities
  • Flat land allows railway construction and tourism
  • Foreshore allows leisure facilities construction - Agriculture
  • Estuaries allow defensive sites

Case Study: Bournemouth, UK

  • Traditional Victorian resorts
  • Flat land – easy to build on and attracts elderly tourists
  • Some deprived areas

Case Study: Benidorm, Spain

  • Lots of greenery and 3 large, blue –flag status beaches - many tourists
  • Nightlife and young tourists
  • Summer package holidays
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Case Study - Holderness Coastline

  • Flamborough Head: Hard Rock (not protected)
  • Alderbrough: no defence
  • Mapleton: low defence – e.g. wooden Groynes
  • Easington: High levels of defence due to national Gas Terminal – e.g. Sea Walls, Groynes…)
  • Spern Point: no defence – e.g. “Do nothing” management strategy

Primary: Researcher collecting data themselves – e.g. questionnaires, scientific methods…

Secondary: Researcher find data from a secondary source (e.g. website) – data from council sites

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