Flashback to the 2013 storms at Snettisham

One of the hides displaced by the December storm surge at the RSPB's Snettisham Reserve.

One of the hides displaced by the December storm surge at the RSPB's Snettisham Reserve. - Credit: Archant

December 2013 saw the most powerful storm surge since the floods of 1953 which claimed dozens of lives along West Norfolk's low-lying coastline.

Some of the damage caused by the December 2013 storm surge at the RSPB's Snettisham Reserve.

Some of the damage caused by the December 2013 storm surge at the RSPB's Snettisham Reserve. - Credit: Archant

A perfect storm of high spring tides, a deep low pressure system and gale-force winds sent the waves crashing over Snettisham's shingle sea defences.

The night of December 5 left the access track to the RSPB reserve washed away in places, demolished bird roosting banks and smashed hides to matchwood or left them teetering on a cliff-edge.

Snettisham's brackish lagoons - the remnants of quarrying works - were filled with salt water.

As the waters receded, the scale of the damage stunned staff and volunteers. The first priority was to repair the habitat, rebuilding roosting banks and other landscaping.


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Now the RSPB, which bought the former gravel pits in the 1970s, hopes to restore the habitat for the 25,000 people who visit the reserve each year.

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