East Head

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Jan 2014: Adaptive Management of East Head

As part of our Coastal Management strategy, we have agreed the first steps which will be carried out to reduce the risk of a breach of the delicate part of the sand spit known as The Hinge at East Head.

The work is planned to start in January 2014 (weather permitting) and will be carried out under the aegis of the East Head Coastal Issues Advisory Group (EHCIAG). EHCIAG was set up to manage the Adaptive Management process at East Head and includes a range of organisations, stakeholders and experts in coastal environmental management that are listed below.

Our overall strategy is called "Adaptive Management" which involves taking steps to achieve equilibrium between the sea and the land with a workable strategy to avoid a breach at The Hinge, and to maintain public access to East Head.

The work will be carried out by engineers from Chichester District Council and will consist of:
1. Removing failed gabions (the wire baskets holding the stones) with the stones being left naturally on the beach at the western end.
2. Adjusting the height of some of the groynes (the horizontal planks going out to sea), and replace and repair some others to enhance the collection or movement of sand and shingle.

This is to allow a natural process to occur which will include some erosion and some natural rebuilding of material at this area. As the beach area moves back, it is envisaged that a more natural beach shape will form providing a better profile for long term protection of the immediate area.

Planning consent is also being sought to allow recharges with sand and shingle at The Hinge from time to time to keep a safe width and height at the critical point. The area is monitored regularly and EHCIAG works closely together to ensure that the area is actively managed.


Background Information

East Head is an important sand dune feature at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. It is used for recreation by many thousands of walkers and tourists. The hinge - the point of the dune system that connects it to the land is currently under threat. This is of great concern to local people and Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

East Head is owned and managed by the National Trust who can be contacted on 01243 814554 and as it is a SSSI, Natural England (formerly English Nature) also play an important role in its management.

The Conservancy are an interested party as it is our role to maintain navigation in Chichester Harbour. If the hinge is breached it may have a significant impact on the flow of water through the harbour entrance therefore affecting the deep water channels and ultimately the use of the harbour for navigation and marine related businesses.

The rock berm alongside the inside of the hinge was put in place by the Conservancy in 2000, a recharge of this area was carried out in 2005 and again in 2009. Future management will be adaptive depending on the current needs of the area.

Take a virtual tour of East Head in our Learning Zone.

Reports, Press Releases and Photographs

* East Head Today Feb 2013

* National Trust Shifting Shores Living with a Changing Coastline

* East Head Coastal Issues Advisory Group Terms of Reference

* East Head Aerial Photograph May 2009
* East Head Aerial Photography May 2008
* East Head Press Release Dec 2008
* East Head Press Release July 2008
* Copies of 4 charts from 1871 / 1914 / 1971 / 2000 showing the changing shape of East Head

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