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How Norfolk’s Coast Has Disappeared Over The Years

January 29, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Dave Ward



There’s an interesting background piece in the EDP today about coastal erosion in Norfolk:


 Several medieval villages on the Norfolk coast have been lost to erosion over the centuries. This map, from a image


Particularly relevant is this map:



The exact locations of the drowned villages are unknown, but clearly huge tracts of land have been lost to the sea since the Middle Ages.

  1. geoff bancroft permalink
    January 29, 2022 6:01 pm

    There are Roman maps of the coastal areas from 2000 years ago, and they were pretty good at mapping, the erosion since then is many miles, after all the east coast is basically a sandbank.

  2. Dave Ward permalink
    January 29, 2022 6:20 pm

    Whimpwell (Green) & Eccles still exist, so they must have been re-built at some stage. Eccles is 2 miles SE of Happisburgh – about the same relative position as on that map. Whimpwell Green is a little further inland, and between the other two, rather than to the NW of Happisburgh as shown. The EDP has published a couple of articles about the remains of Eccles:

    and one about Shipden:

  3. john cheshire permalink
    January 29, 2022 6:55 pm

    I recall in the last Labour government, Hilary Benn refused to protect the Norfolk coast but made sure that part of the coast at his home was protected.
    As I keep saying all MPs are rats. Despicable creatures.

    • Janice Moore permalink
      January 29, 2022 7:05 pm

      Heh. Your comment reminded me of something C. S. Lewis wrote (at the end of The Silver Chair about the “Head” of “Experiment House”): (quoting from memory)

      The Head had been no good as an instructor; that was why she was made Head. Having failed at that, she was made an Inspector of Schools (to bother all the other Heads). When the Heads got together and complained, she was removed. After that, she went into Parliament where she lived happily ever after.

    • Duker permalink
      January 29, 2022 9:22 pm

      Hilary Benn is MP for Leeds Central. Thats not on any coast

      • January 29, 2022 10:06 pm

        It will be in a few years

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        January 29, 2022 10:12 pm

        Does Hilary Benn live there? You may well find he has a home in Norfolk.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      January 30, 2022 9:41 am

      The Stansgate estate is the estate that goes with the Viscount Stansgate title, it’s in Essex, And it nicely illustrates the ‘one rule for the rich, one for the plebs mentality of our ruling class. I’ve an article about rights of way law which sprang in part from reading how the law that enabled a footpath fanatic to apply for one right outside by back door also applied to the Wedgewood estate but with very different attitudes from the council. See:

      “Looking at applications further afield, I came upon one near Stansgate in Essex, a path along the shore. It had been opened and immediately closed, which looked promising; I’d take that as a victory.  
      But … the estate was owned by one Anthony Wedgwood Benn, pipe-smoking, tea-drinking man of the people, or at least all those people with an estate and influential friends.”

      I was so furious that I used the law as it was then to apply for the reopening of Watling Street where it runs through the palace of Westminster,* a process that so embarrassed the government that they included a revision of ROW law in the deregulation Act 2015. But that section of the Act is still not commenced. The civil servants who actually run things don’t like being forced to do things by the little people, believing that ‘must’ is not a word for princes.


      *Westminster city council said no in defiance of the law.

  4. bobn permalink
    January 29, 2022 6:59 pm

    All that erosion due to …….. Of course there used to be Doggerland and a walk to Dunkirk. All lost due to the coal-fired powerstations used by stone-age man, since only mankind can possibly change climate!!

    • Janice Moore permalink
      January 29, 2022 7:06 pm


    • Philip Mulholland permalink
      January 29, 2022 7:38 pm

      I think you will find that the coastal retreat is due to stone age flint extraction from the underlying chalk and resulting mining subsidence.

    • Phil O'Sophical permalink
      January 29, 2022 8:19 pm

      I know you are being drole, but for interest that land bridge was inundated about 8,000 years ago by the Storegga Slide, a massive land slip of the Storegga shelf off Norway into the depths creating a tsunami that swept down the narrow lower Doggerland area creating the English Channel. Coastal dwellers at the time would not think so but quite a stroke of luck really.

  5. January 29, 2022 7:40 pm

    This erosion process has been happening for hundreds of years all along the East Coast where the land is sandy. Remember Dunwich in Suffolk to the south.

  6. Vernon E permalink
    January 29, 2022 7:42 pm


    • Fenlander permalink
      January 29, 2022 8:23 pm

      Bless you.

      • Peter G Barrett permalink
        January 30, 2022 5:49 pm

        Mostly when I read these articles and the accompanying commentary I feel anger/despair/resentment and hopelessness.
        Thank you for making me laugh out loud.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 29, 2022 10:15 pm

      Groin strain?

  7. EppingBlogger permalink
    January 29, 2022 10:19 pm

    Sorry this is a bit tangential to the topic but has anyone correlated human population (as a proxy for human CO2 output) with CO2 levels in the atmosphere?

    It seems to me a high degree of correlation would exist.

    • Mack permalink
      January 29, 2022 11:29 pm

      And, your point is?

      Using similar logic, the increase in wokery completely mirrors the increase in co2 levels since 1950, ergo liberal thinking causes global warming/climate change/climate crisis/general bed wetting and hiding behind the sofa related mental illnesses. In the meantime, the actual global ‘climate’ barely notices we are here.

      Sure, people impact their environment in a legion of ways, many of which are harmful, However, in the scheme of things, such impacts are relatively trivial. The UHI affect has a massive influence on recent temperature records yet less than 2% of the planet is urbanised. 71% is ocean. And, to this day, there are no accurate weather records for much of the planet. Human hubris is way more powerful than humanity’s impact on the ‘weather’.

      Historically, humanity has a way of dealing with overpopulation issues: war or wealth. Mother Nature tends to find a simpler solution: famine, plague or disaster. And the preponderance of co2 molecules in the atmosphere have never been relevant to any of them. Just ask the dinosaurs!

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        January 30, 2022 7:55 am


        EppingBlogger appears to be the same troll posting the same messages verbatim at WUWT.

        DNFTT would be my advice.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        January 30, 2022 7:57 am

        Predictive text…I meant Mack not Mark!

  8. Ted permalink
    January 29, 2022 11:43 pm

    The Benn home in Norfolk. It was one of the few places without a coastal footpath so the socialist dynasty could protect their privacy.

  9. bluecat57 permalink
    January 30, 2022 12:51 am

    Anthropomorphic climate change, right?
    Couldn’t possibly have been natural erosion.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 30, 2022 9:58 am

      is “anthropomorphic” a somewhat poetic characterisation of “anthropogenic”?

      • bluecat57 permalink
        January 30, 2022 2:42 pm

        No. I just used the wrong term. Careless of me. I often forget the word for something I don’t believe in.
        Makes the sarcasm less effective.

  10. January 30, 2022 6:29 am

    The site of the Greco-Persian battle of Thermopylae is an interesting case. At the time of the battle (480 BC) the pass was a narrow strip of land between the cliffs and the sea, capable of being defended heroically (if laconically) by the Spartans. Now the cliffs abut a mile wide expanse of land stretching to the sea, filled in by erosion over time.

  11. Gray permalink
    January 30, 2022 7:54 am

    Meanwhile ‘ Harlech Castle is waiting in vain for the tide to turn and for the distant sea to lap at its feet once again.’ (Cadw Wales website)

    People complaining because they bought a surprisingly cheap house in the wrong place?

  12. cookers52 permalink
    January 30, 2022 8:05 am

    But houses falling into the sea due to climate change makes a good story.

    Coastal erosion is boring after all it happens everywhere.

  13. January 30, 2022 12:14 pm

    It’s just as interesting to look at land area advancing. There are towns miles inland that used to be ports.
    Reportedly, 2000 years ago, Lewes was the largest port on the south east coast. It is now seven miles inland. There are many more examples.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 30, 2022 2:19 pm

      Nearby Rye for example.

      • January 30, 2022 5:43 pm

        Yes there is a website which gives more examples but I can’t find it now!

        I also wonder about Chester, which was a large Roman port. Since then it “silted up” and Liverpool took over as the largest port in the area. But was it entirely silting up, or was it also local sea level decrease?

  14. Gerry, England permalink
    January 30, 2022 2:26 pm

    An nice solution is to buy some coastal land cheap, build a nice house – a bungalow would be good – mounted on rails. Then as the coast retreats you can extend the rails inland and retreat as well. Kevin MacLeod would love the innovation of it.

    • Brian Mead permalink
      January 31, 2022 9:05 am

      Which is more or less what they did with the Belle Toute lighthouse at Beachy Head, as they had to move it back from the disappearing cliff edge. Well it is chalk, which is rather soft and crumbly.

  15. Andrew Mark Harding permalink
    January 30, 2022 3:56 pm

    There are undiscovered treasures to be found in Norfolk, specifically, the Wash!

    On 12 October 1216, much-maligned English King John attempted to cross the Wash, an estuary in the East of England. However, he misjudged the tide, leading to his precious baggage train being claimed by the advancing waters, including, supposedly, the crown jewels.

  16. richard permalink
    January 30, 2022 4:27 pm

    “Analysis of the satellite derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, while 28% are accreting and 48% are stable’

  17. richard permalink
    January 30, 2022 4:27 pm

    “Analysis of the satellite derived shoreline data indicates that 24% of the world’s sandy beaches are eroding at rates exceeding 0.5 m/yr, while 28% are accreting and 48% are stable’

  18. January 30, 2022 6:39 pm

    The important thing is to put what is happening in context. Unfortunately we will see such real erosion taken out of context in the media to suit a narrative. Specifically erosion is caused by several factors. Sea level change is only one. Clearly the material is poorly consolidated so erodes easily but has anyone considered long shore drift? Sediment is taken from one place because of long shore erosion and redeposited somewhere else. This is a cyclic process, is about checks and balances.

    For the same complex set of reasons that there is erosion here in Norfolk YET go south into Kent and you will find the Medieval port of Sandwich about 2 miles away from the sea now due to accretion.

    Now everything which is perceived as bad in this instance MUST be caused by Klymuttt Chaeyngsh and automatically that means must be caused by man, There was an appalling piece as part of the incessant climate propaganda on the PC BBC trying to tie a cliff collapse in North Wales near Anglesey to sea level rise and then developing project fear showing how much of Pembrokeshire (S Wales) would be flooded “if” a sea level rise of X was experienced. The perpetrators of this awful piece of work were something to do with meteorology. They had not even done basic research which would show them that N Wales is emergent and S Wales submergent ( Isostasy). Secondly and they even included a foto which the numpties had not bothered or been able to interpret, which showed two cliff notches showing that relative to the cliff, sea level had fallen because of positive isostatic readjustment and THAT Was the cause of the cliff collapse because move a cliff positively or negatively and things will happen. The shear laziness of those promoting the narrative beggars belief but then there are no consequences when challenged unless one is a denialist of course.

    • M E permalink
      January 31, 2022 12:20 am

      Meteorologists do not study geomorphology as part of their training so they ascribe landscape changes , if they notice them, to weather. The geology of the land ,such as gravel laid down by retreating ice sheets in the past, escapes their view. It shows that general knowledge of geology geography and geomorphology ought to be added to Science courses in schools .

  19. January 30, 2022 10:25 pm

    Those millionaires buying property on the Dubai Palms don’t seem worried either. Those properties are only a couple of feet above sea level, so surely these houses are unsaleable because they will be underwater shortly. But actually they are worth a fortune.
    The same goes for other millionaire sea front hangouts around the world.
    What do they know that we don’t?

  20. January 31, 2022 12:47 am

    new Whitton Island
    Likewise Reed’s Island is growing back, ships can no longer sail up the inside .. you can almost walk across now.

  21. Teddy Lee permalink
    February 3, 2022 1:45 pm

    Meanwhile,on the opposite North Sea Coast the Netherlands refuses to cede any land to the sea! Where there’s a will!

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