The area of North Norfolk that I shall be studying stretches from Hunstanton in the west to Weybourne in the east, a stretch of coastline over thirty miles long. Within this relatively short stretch of coastline are a great variety of coastal landforms. It is a coastline of contrasts. In the four areas I studied the cliffs are in retreat, often at a rate of several feet a year. I will examine the processes at work on the cliffs, both coastal and sub-aerial, as well as the ways in which geology interacts with these processes.
At Weybourne Hope the boulder clay cliffs are intensely eroded. While at Blakeney Point the coast changes to on in which deposition dominates. This spit has a profound affect on the area between it and the old coastline. In this zone there is a great variety of marsh scenery both natural and man-made. At Wells there is a good example of how the marshes have been partially reclaimed and the land defended from wave attack. While at Hunstanton the contrast is especially great due to the distinct geology of the area.
At Weybourne Hope there is a very good example of a coastline, which is rapidly eroding. The cliff is made up of loose glacial material, from a period called the Pleistocene period. This unsorted boulder clay contains flint and is even more friable than the cliffs at Hunstanton.
The cliffs are about nine meters high, there is weathering by the wind and rain creating little tunnels through the rock and biological factors like animals digging burrows. These factors all loosen the cliff and make it unstable. When I visited Weybourne Hope the waves showed the characteristics of being constructive waves, they where long flat waves, they broke near the shore and the wavelength was very long. At this point along the coastline the waves usually would have a lot of energy because they have a very large fetch, a large fetch means more energy, which would increase the wave strength. The beach was quite steep with six berms along the narrow beach; the beach was of the shingle variety.