Information about what the East Riding coast is like, what heritage coasts are, coastal erosion, how quickly is the East Riding coast eroding and sea levels rising.
The East Riding coastline is approximately 85 kilometres (53 miles) long and stretches from the chalk cliffs at Bempton to the coastal spit called Spurn Point. Its natural features include:
The coastline supports a range of settlements and industries, including the resort towns and fishing industry hubs of Bridlington, Hornsea and Withernsea, traditional villages, and rural beaches.
Natural England applies the "Heritage Coast" definition to stretches of beautiful, undeveloped coastline which are managed to conserve their natural beauty and, where appropriate, to improve accessibility for visitors.
The East Riding has two stretches of Heritage Coast:
Coastal change is defined as a physical change to the shoreline through any of the following methods:
The East Riding coastline is particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion because it includes 48 kilometres of soft glacial till (clay, pebbles and sand).
Recent records suggest that the East Riding coastline is eroding at an average rate of 1.5-2.5 metres per year. It is important to note, however, that certain locations which are not defended can experience individual cliff losses of 20 metres or more due to natural processes.
To view recent erosion rates, please use the link below to access the Coastal Explorer website:
Coastal Explorer (external website)
Yes. Sea levels are rising as a result of natural processes.
In the East Riding, land continues to sink very gradually as a result of the last ice age. This process is called isostatic change and results in local sea level rise of around 3mm per year. The rate of local sea level rise may increase to around 8mm per year when we take into account global sea level rise driven by climate change. The key factors in global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by the warming of the oceans, and the loss of land-based ice due to increased melting.
The Government's projections on sea level rise can be found on the following website:
Defra - UK Climate Projections (external website)
In the future, sea level rise is expected to increase rates of coastal erosion along undefended stretches of coastline, and to increase the risk of coastal flooding in some places. As detailed in the Shoreline Management Plan, we will respond by working with, rather than against, natural processes.