December 5 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 11, 2013
Coastal officials checking for damage in the aftermath of Thursday’s storm are likely to bump into treasure hunters on the beaches of north Norfolk.
An eight-foot deep hole, scoured out of the sand by the sea, has been fenced off east of Sheringham, blocking the route of people walking between the resort and nearby Beeston Regis and West Runton.
And an estimated six to eight foot of an eroding cliff corner has disappeared into the sea at Happisburgh, according to a cliff-top resident whose bedroom is only about 15 feet from the edge.
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The sea’s purging may also have exposed gems and fossils along the eroding coastline which will attract collectors, said former Cromer Museum curator Martin Warren, who leads geology walks along the north Norfolk coast.
“Northerlies combined with quite big tides might have thrown up quite a lot of debris on the sand line and you may occasionally find pieces of amber and jet there,” said Mr Warren.
Scouring of the sand could also have exposed fossil deposits in the Cromer Forest-bed, dating from about 500,000 to two million years ago.
These might include vertebrate fossils such as deer, bison and elephant bones, antlers and teeth rows.
Rob Goodliffe, coastal communities project manager with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), said their staff were out checking the coastline and he appealed to any members of the public who noticed any damage, or anything unusual, to report it.
The 100cu m hole, beyond Sheringham’s east promenade, had been reported by a member of the public and NNDC staff expected to start filling it in at the beginning of the week.
Mr Goodliffe said the beach level had dropped below the bottom of the sea wall and the sea had entered underneath in the storm, scouring the sand behind. Happily, the next tide had brought sediment back, filling the area under the sea wall, but leaving the hole.
At Happisburgh, Beach Road resident Bryony Nierop-Reading said she did not sleep in her home on Thursday after a “terrifying” experience through the storm the previous night.
“It was frightening. The wind whistled and the gusts were huge. You could feel it ramming against the side of the house,” said Mrs Nierop-Reading, 68, who chose not to move out with her neighbours whose homes were demolished last year because of the erosion threat.
“I was up at 3am and again at 5am shutting windows.” She said clay facing from the bottom of the cliffs had been ripped off by the seas, a chunk of a corner point of cliff had disappeared, and metal and other debris scattered over the beach.
Mrs Nierop-Reading said she was “lucky” and only lost a roof panel of one lean-to, which had fallen inside the building. But she now thinks she only has about two years left before she must abandon her home. Meanwhile, she intends dismantling the parts nearest the cliff edge and living in the rest.
Phil Garner, forecaster with UEA-based Weatherquest, said there would be more prolonged spells of rain from the end of last night and for much of today but they would clear later in the day. Last night’s “rather breezy” conditions, with 20-22mph winds, would ease today.
Norfolk County Council emergency response highways crews dealt with 30 call-outs between 4pm on Thursday and 8.30am yesterday. Almost all were to fallen trees, with incidents reported across the whole county. There were no serious delays on major roads.
Dan Roper, county cabinet member for public protection, said departments had been looking at new ways of working together to improve public services.
“Thursday’s stormy weather has seen those initiatives in action. Fire crews have been out with North Norfolk District Council staff and have been clearing fallen trees from highways and making buildings safe in various areas in Norfolk,” he added.
“We know that working with other services improves public safety and at the same time saves money.”
• To report any damage, ring NNDC’s coastal department on 01263 516321 or, out-of-hours 01263 513811.