The classic geography fieldwork investigation and the perfect beach on which to study it! Southwold has a unique sediment cell, which erodes, transports and deposits sediment in a 2-3 mile circular radius. Longshore drift here has the potential to drag away the town’s beach and as such a new combination of management including rock and wooden groynes has been installed since 2006.

Accumulations of sand either side of these groynes show the success of the groynes and confirms the activity of longshore drift, so too does the varying width of the beach along a transect of the seafront.

Students will gain an understanding of the Southwold sediment cell from Environment Agency data before gathering evidence from the beach using groyne height measurements, drift testing, beach width comparisons and annotated field sketching.

AQA: Hard engineering, sea walls and groynes, transportation – longshore drift.

Edexcel: The physical processes at work at the coast, longshore drift, the different coastal management defences, hard engineering – sea walls and groynes.

OCR: How human activity, including management works in combination with the geomorphic processes to impact the landscape.

Primary Fieldwork can include:

  • Groyne height measurements
  • Beach width comparisons
  • Drift tests
  • Field sketches

Provided resources:

  • Fieldwork booklet
  • Secondary data
  • Classroom facilities
  • Write-up A3 summary sheet


Low season 1st November - 31st March


Mid season 1st April - 31st May
1st September - 31st October


High season 1st June - 31st July


GFA Southwold 07907299910 / 01728860631
GFA Skegness 07398257944 / 01507603980