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Gravel Beaches

Sediment supply from soft cliffs
© A. J. Chadwick

Gravel beaches are widespread around the world, including the USA, Canada, Japan, Argentina, New Zealand and the wave dominated coastlines of Northern Europe [1]. In the UK, about one third of the coastline is protected by such beaches [2].

In coastal defence schemes, considerable use is made of coarse-grained (gravel) sediment to replenish eroding beaches, often in conjunction with structures such as rock or wooden groynes or offshore breakwaters. This is because such beaches are known to be an efficient form of natural coastal defence [3][4]. Two examples from the UK are those at Sidmouth, Devon and Elmer, West Sussex...
  1. Buscome D., Masselink G. (2006). Concepts in gravel beach dynamics. Earth science Reviews 79 33-52.
  2. Fuller, R. M. & Randall, R. E. (1988). The Orford Shingles, Suffolk, UK. Classic conflicts in coastline management. Biological conservation.
  3. Powell, K. A. (1990). Predicting short term profile response for shingle beaches. HR Wallingford Report SR 219.
  4. Diserens, A. P. & Coates, T. T. (1993). UK South Coast shingle beach study: storm response of shingle beaches. HR Wallingford Report SR 323.