CoastView - Seaford Beach and Seaford Head

See a more detailed quantitative assessment of the cliff erosion at Seaford Head. The beach at Seaford has undergone dramatic changes in past 100 years (see also the regional section).

Seaford Beach from the East Cliff in about 1910. The large numbers of wooden groynes have restricted longshore drift. The beach is quite wide and in the foreground the storm berm is a considerable distance from the promenade. On the right hand side, north of the promenade, shingle has been extracted, presumably for building purposes, leaving the town more vulnerable to inundation from the sea.
Aerial view of Seaford taken in 1931. Notice the scattered nature of the housing. Much of the land behind the beach was at risk from flooding and few people cared to live there.
During the inter-war years Seaford began to suffer significant beach erosion. When this photograph was taken in the 1950s, beach levels had dropped to such a degree that storm waves regularly broke against the seawall, flooding the road on top and threatening the houses behind. The steps in the foreground confirm that beach levels were generally low. Earlier in the century the beach on its landward side had been nearly level with the promenade, as can be seen in the previous photograph.
A major beach recharge project was completed in 1987, using shingle dredged from the seabed off the Isle of Wight. In this 2002 photograph the recharged beach looks even healthier than its predecessor in 1910. Apart from a terminal groyne at Splash Point (foreground) there are no groynes to check longshore drift. Shingle accumulates quite rapidly at the Splash Point groyne, and each year has to be taken back in lorries to replenish the beach at the western end of Seaford.
This photograph of the eastern end of Seaford Beach with the East Cliff and Seaford Head (Hawks Brow) behind was taken in about 1906.

Compare this photograph taken in 2002 with the earlier one. The perspective is not exactly the same, but in the middle distance the cliffs are now much nearer to the brick wall of the ruined building, leaving only a narrow path. In the far distance, the cliffs appear to have retreated even further.

This photograph taken before 1916 shows the crenulated edge of the cliff on the western side of Seaford Head. Note the quite wide shingle beach that existed at this date.
The same view, taken in 1927 or 1928, showing a buttress developing at the foot of the cliff.
This photograph is believed to have been taken about 1950. The buttress has developed further and is beginning to impede the longshore drift of beach shingle towards the east.
The scene more than 50 years later in 2002. The buttress persists while the cliff on either side has retreated. The buttress now acts as groyne restricting the eastward movement of shingle, thus helping to create a small beach. However, the new groyne at Splash Point is restricting the supply of shingle from further west.
No dates are given for this and the next postcard of Splashpoint. However, a clear development of the buttress in the foreground can be seen with a cave developing in the next image.
The buttress in the previous photo has been detached from the cliff and remains as a stump on the beach. The buttress that can be seen in the previous two photos in the background has developed further and will eventually take the same course as the stump in the foreground.
In 2002 the sequence of events has repeated itself. The stump in the previous photo has been removed and the buttress has been detached from the cliff and stands now as a stack in front of the cliff and will eventually be removed altogether.
As seen in other examples from the coast, the general outline of the shore platform (in this case the seaward protrusion in the background) does not seem to undergo dramatic changes.