Historic coastal sites being washed away

Hundreds of historical sites and buildings along the east coast will be lost to the sea as a result of coastal erosion, according to a new survey. The extent of the destruction, which has already affected the Suffolk coastline, has been highlighted in a new book, launched by English Heritage yesterday.

Hundreds of historical sites and buildings along the east coast will be lost to the sea as a result of coastal erosion, according to a new survey.

The extent of the destruction, which has already affected the Suffolk coastline, has been highlighted in a new book, launched by English Heritage yesterday.

England's coastline is receding by an average of one metre per year which means thousands of significant sites and buildings will literately be washed away.

Geologically soft and low-lying, the Suffolk coastline has already lost some of its heritage. Results from the National Mapping Programme (NMP), a countrywide survey commissioned by English Heritage, examining aerial photographs - largely from the second world war through to the present day - highlights historical sites that are either no longer visible or accessible from the ground.

These photographs now form the subject of Suffolk's Defended Shore which illustrates the history and development of military defences on the Suffolk coast and demonstrates the importance of the coast in national defence strategies.

Speaking at the launch at Landguard Fort, near Felixstowe, Sarah Newsome, one of the book's authors, said: “The photographs provide us with a valuable tool for the study of Suffolk's coast.

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“They provide a different, and often unique, perspective on military defences, particularly those constructed in the second world war. Photographs taken during and immediately after this war sometimes provide the only visual record of the rapidly evolving defences from this period.

“They also tell us a great deal about how the coast is changing and what has already been lost to the sea.

“Publishing these photographs will also help the people of Suffolk to appreciate what is on their doorsteps. But some of these wonderful sites are under threat, most notably from the sea, which has already claimed several defence sites.”

Many of Suffolk's historic military remains have already become victims of coastal erosion including Walton Castle and the Roman fort at Felixstowe which was lost to the sea by the mid-18th Century.

There are currently no plans to produce a similar book for Norfolk.

Suffolk's Defended Shore is £14.99 and available from book shops.

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