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Year 10 need your help! Can we get Twitter and Facebook in to a GCSE project?


I’ve been told that social media has no place in the classroom.  Now, this post is not to battle that argument head on.  Let’s smash it.

This week, Year 10 are visiting Hengistbury Head.  They are investigating whether this piece of coastline should be protected.  They are wondering what you think?

You may know the location well, you may not know it at all.  But we’d like to hear from you all the same.  This will either result in some usable data and comments, or not.  Either way, we'll know and I’m sure that your comments will help spark discussion in class!

What would Year 10 like me to do?

Just simply comment on this post or tweet me, with an answer to this question:

‘Should Hengistubury Head be protected from the Sea?

Just answer Yes or No and give a brief reason.  It would also be useful if you could tell us whether you know the area or not.

Many thanks in anticipation……


Image – my own.


  1. I used to live a mile from the sea, and would have been worried if it was being eroded and no effort was being made to protect my property.
    On the other hand, the expense could be spent on more 'useful' things - those beach huts could be moved back. I get a feeling that the coastline tends to find its own balance over time and we just get in the way...
    So (he says, climbing off the fence) if pushed to a YES or NO answer, I would say "NO"....

  2. I don't know - convince me?!

    Perhaps by putting a point in 140 characters or less. I suppose you could include a weblink to a paragraph, reference or photo. I'm a keen walker and appreciate wildlife, but rocks are for climbing. Why is this one special?

  3. Would have to say no. The sea will reclaim it in the end and you would only be putting off the inevitable. The money being spent to try and save it could be used for a better purpose.

  4. Yes! I don't know this part of the coastline but I live at the coast in the NorthEast of England and so am aware of the constant encroachment of the sea over the cliffs and coastal land. The sea will always win in the end but we should try to preserve our coastline for as long as possible!

  5. Often protecting areas moves the issue further along the coast. I think we meddle far too much and cause many situations like this ourselves not solely costal erosion. I would say let it go and the sea take its natural (possibly already man effected) course.

  6. I believe that hard engineering schemes are doomed to fail eventually and are therefore unsustainable. Although it sounds a bit 'hippy' we would be much better off if we learned to live in harmony with our natural environment instead of fighting against it.

  7. mandared.creativeblogs.net10 May 2011 at 20:44

    I would say no. Things change, we need to learn to change with them. We can't hold off the inevitable forever, and if we damage the environment in some way then we should take responsibility for paying whatever the 'price' for that might be - maybe if we had to pay the price a little more often then people would consider their actions and be more willing to change their lifestyle before it's too late.

    Rant over!

  8. Afraid I'd have to say no. Roots run deep and asking people to relocate from their homes is difficult but preserving their property would be an ongoing expense that only delays the enevitable. In short, the sea will always win!

  9. I grew up near Hengistbury Head and yes I think it SHOULD be protected.
    1. It is a unique landmass along the teeming south coast with wetland areas, heath and wild southern coast.
    2. It provides a great place for people to walk, sit on the beach etc.
    3. If Hengistbury Head disappeared then the coastline to the east would be under threat - meaning even more erosion at Barton, possibly threatening the shingle spit at Hurst which in turn protects the salt marshes of the western solent.

    lucky you year 10 having such a great field trip!

  10. Yes! It's our fault that HH has been subjected to such a rapid rate of erosion in the first place. Had the ironstone doggers been left alone and not been removed for industrial purposes, the headland would have it's own natural barrier. Geologically speaking, it's also incredibly important. If you could place the rocks at HH on top of the Jurassic coast and then on top of the Grand Canyon, you would see all the rocks in the world, from oldest to youngest. Not only this, but HH is also an important archaeological site (Time Team have conducted a dig here) as an important iron age trading point and burial ground. The Double Dykes are a SAM and the area is a SSSI. People living in Christchurch would definitely benefit from protection of the headland; otherwise their homes would be susceptible to flooding and further erosion. Perhaps least important, but still worth considering is the cost of property on the spit. Some of those beach huts sell for over £130,000! I think it's interesting that long groyne affords protection for the beach huts; the gabions protect Double Dykes; yet there is barely anything at all protecting the actual headland itself. The only form of 'protection' I noticed last time I was there (other than the ironstone)were some fences at right angles to the cliff, to try to prevent people straying from the path, which can lead to gulleying, thereby making erosion easier.

    Sorry for such a long message year 10- I get a bit carried away! Hope you had a good day at the beach.

  11. I think we do have to take some responsibility, not just for the environment, but for the people who, in good faith, have bought property or who own land and make their living there. In hopeless cases, there are good reasons to leave nature to it and stop throwing good money after bad. But I've known Hengistbury Head for over 20 years. That stretch of coast is well populated, and you can't ignore the people either in the area or further away. You can't tell Bournemouth (to the west) not to protect its beach; equally you can't tell people in Christchurch Bay (to the east) to move away because the cliffs are in danger of collapse. Sometimes public money DOES need to be spent in coastal protection.

    The final thing I'd say is that it isn't all about protection from the sea. Some of the erosion in this area is the result of water from within the cliffs, adding to the weight of the rock which then collapses under the strain. Tests were done about 15 years ago to see where the water which affects these cliffs actually comes from - and some of it comes from up to 20 miles away inland - all underground, from under the New Forest! So it's not all the fault of the sea.

    Hope you have a great day at Hengistbury Head! Best wishes

  12. I would have to say no. Like many have said the money could be spent on more 'useful' things and I don't think the natural beauty of the area would be too affected. H leaves makes a very convincing argument however, that grand canyon fact... wow!

    However I am not one for fence sitting so will stick to my no guns. Its a process in equilibrium so what is lost will be put back somewhere else, circle of life and all that

  13. Martin Perkins10 May 2011 at 21:53

    I think it is a careful balance to what the human race does to prevent natural progression of erosion vs slowing down what we are accelerating. For example, the sea erodes, fact of nature, and everyday it is shaping new amazing aspects of coastline and new adventures to explore. However, the increased amount of industry, shipping lanes and even the more gentle activities of us all climbing and exploring the coast does accelerate and alter this natural progression. Perhaps a focus on protection against what is not being done naturally is the key, so we can continue to enjoy what Hengistbury Head is today and see what it evolves into tomorrow.

    Short answer, yes but only on what man is accelerating.

    Marty P

  14. I would have to say no. Though its a great shame to loose beautiful and historically significant parts of our coastline. I just can't see any justification in spending so much money on something which ultimately is doomed to fail. Nature will always be triumphant, and has been changing the face of our planet since its birth!

  15. I think you should use made up talking heads created by a textbook author rather than consulting real people and getting authentic learning and true heart-felt stories ;)
    Only joking - this post shows once again why social media is a great tool for geographers....
    Alternatively, hunt out that old Bernard Clarke video and close the curtains and press play - sorted....

  16. I don't know the area but feel that overall NO. Any coastal management scheme has implications not just for the protected area but for other areas further along the coastline too. What a difficult task it is for local authorities to decide and prioritise where adn how they will spend money. However if I had property there my view would understandably be very different.

    Good luck with the project there look to be many responses so far.I'll go and read other comments now I have written mine !


  17. Having taken a GCSE group to do their Coursework at Hengistbury Head two years ago I would say that it is a difficult question to answer.

    You would have to say that by protecting one area of the coastline another area is likely to be affected by processes in a different way to how it is now, so effectively the issue may be forced along the coastline to somewhere else.

    However, the area is one that provides the public with stunning walks and also the local population will be extremely worried about the problems associated with coastal erosion. Nature is much more powerful that we think though and finally the sea will win - but where? That is the question.

  18. Didn't King Canute ponder this problem and conclude that there were bigger forces at play? I believe that nothing is permanent and that our world will continue to change according to the evolution of our solar system. I do not believe there to be any other viable option other than to allow nature to take it's course so my answer has to be a NO.

  19. I say let the earth take care of itself (and let the educators move with the times)

  20. I think that we should let the earth take care of itself (and let the educators move with the times)

  21. No.... Messing around with nature ends badly. We have seen that in a lot of places. Whilst it might destroy a few houses, what are the knock on effects elsewhere? If they are guaranteed not to happen then fine!

  22. Yes there is a need to protect HH due to the fact that it is a site of specific interest. With rare wild life and that we should protect these habitats for nature and also HH is used for peoples leisure. Yet if we let HH fal we will need to save poole and Christchurch from erosion. So it is better to keep defending HH so other residential areas remain because it would be quite expensive relocating people

  23. Leave it as it is. People should avoid developing so close to the coast. The sea will have the last laugh.
    Mary - geography teacher (NZ)


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