The coast took a battering from endless Easterly weather systems during the end of February and the beginning of March. It was brutally cold on the beach and the harsh conditions affecting several of our coastal courses as well as significantly increasing erosion levels at Easton Bavents.
Southwold's bones were shaken and chilled by the Siberian blasts from the infamous attacks from the Beast from the East. We had to cancel one of our courses and stocked up on hand-warmers and coffee for others.
The beach was a bitterly cold place to be at times, with the wind cutting through clothing and freezing exposed faces. The waves attacking the town were breaking onto the pier during high tides with the sea wall standing up to everything the huge swells could throw at it.
Further up the coast at Easton Bavents, the unprotected cliffs were less resistant to the continuous pounding. The subsequent erosion here has collapsed the concrete footpath from the seawall onto the beach whilst the level of the beach material has been lowered more than I have ever seen, almost causing the undercutting of the sea wall at it's furthest extent by Buss Creek. The base of the rock groynes here, have had their durable mats exposed with parts being ripped by the power of the sea.
The erosion has also exposed the original wooden fishing docks or wharfs on some parts of the beach, which now lay horizontally in very precarious spiked rows on some sections of the beach.
Joe and I caught up with Keith Roper from the Waveney District Council recently and quizzed him about the recent beach changes. In his role as Coastal Officer responsible for Southwold's sea defence repairs and maintenance Keith is currently keeping a keen eye on how all of the town's defences have held up to the heavy seas which we have recently experienced. Keith and his team regularly measure sediment levels and carry out site analysis on all their assets. Keith has noticed shifts in the rates of erosion and transportation this winter, but feels that this is all part of the normal natural cycles which operate along our hugely dynamic stretch of coast.