Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Friday, January 18, 2013
Stunning new aerial films highlight the fragility of Norfolk’s erosion-threatened coastline.
Renowned aerial photographer Mike Page recorded the coastal fringe from Great Yarmouth to north of Happisburgh at low tide earlier this month.
The footage includes Scratby’s narrow beach, the effect of the reefs off Sea Palling and the two remaining cliff-top homes on Happisburgh’s Beach Road.
With a camera fixed to the aircraft’s tail, Mr Page flew at 1,000 ft over Yarmouth and then dropped to 500ft for the rest of the journey.
He has been filming coastal changes since 1980.
“I’ve seen lots of the Norfolk coastline disappearing over the years,” he said. “Whether it’s due to climate change - which I personally don’t believe - or the weather, I’m not sure.”
The first film, lasting nine minutes, travels north to Winterton, taking in the edge of Gorleston, Yarmouth harbour, Yarmouth, Caister, California, Scratby, Newport, and Hemsby Gap.
The second, eight-and-a-half-minute film (which can be viewed above), resumes the journey and follows the coast from Winterton up to Happisburgh, taking in Winterton Ness, Horsey, Waxham, Sea Palling, Eccles, Cart Gap and Ostend, almost as far as Walcott.
Mr Page highlighted the area around Happisburgh, internationally known for the impact of coastal erosion.
Footage shows the lonely cliff-top Happisburgh bungalow of Bryony Nierop-Reading and a neighbouring holiday home whose out-of-county owner also refused to allow North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to demolish their erosion-threatened property last year when nine homes were flattened.
At Sea Palling the impact of the nine reefs can be seen. Mr Page said the first five, from the south, had worked, protecting their beaches.
But the northernmost four had been placed further apart and the result was clear to see in a succession of scoured-out beaches.
A spokesman for NNDC’s coast and community partnerships scheme said both they and the Environment Agency used aerial photos as part of their coastal monitoring programme.
He added: “Any extra recordings are always of benefit and they can give further information to refer to.
“Oblique photos are good as they pick out beach access points, cliff faces etc. which can be hard to identify in plan view.
“We often use aerial photos to highlight issues or to help explain features or projects along the coast to the public and we have in the past contacted Mike Page, who is not only enthusiastic but also very obliging and he is normally able to provide shots of what we need, for which we are always very grateful.”