Yorkshire glaciers

The North York Moors has several overflow channels which are thought to have cut through the moors during the last glacial period. The largest is Newtondale; which is 15km long and 80m deep. Peak flow would have been around 10,000 cumecs.

Ice lined the current coastline and trapped in water along the moors. Water couldn’t flow out of the ends of glaciers and built up inland in large lakes between the hills and the other glaciers. As the climate warmed, more water pooled there. The area became a glacier-dammed lake. Water level rose until it spilled over the lowest col, at 200m. The volumes of melt-water cut through the Newtondale overflow channel.

A similar process also occured nearby at Lake Pickering, cutting out the Kirkham Abbey Gorge, and several other sites were effected by the glaciers


Studland Bay- Part I

Over a million people visit the Studland Bay area yearly. Visitors on peak days are often greeted with signs saying that Studland Bay is full. These visitors mean a good management system is needed.

Studland Bay is protected by the National Trust and English Nature.

The Bay has a variety of habitats including a sea grass meadow off shore with seahorse breeding grounds and a SSSI around a lake near the dunes. In the system are many rare birds, meaning their habitats have to be maintained. All five native British species of reptiles can be found at Studland Bay. The habitats of these species, especially the sand lizard are carefully monitored.

To maintain the dune system, non native plants like birch scrub are removed on inner dune ridges to encourage more open growth of plants such as heather.There is a pattern of cutting down invading Scots Pine trees. Sallow Carr is cut in wetlands to encourage the growth of more moisture-loving plants.

Meanwhile, plants such as marram grass are being planted on the dunes to help stabilise them. This should reduce the impact of erosion upon the site.

Old dunes stretched to Redend Point at the very start of the Bay, but have been eroded away and the access road to the beach is now under threat of erosion. Gabions and steel pilings are being used to strengthen the beach front. Timber palisades are used further up the beach in a similar way.

Damage to the dunes was heightened during WWII as it was used as a practice site for military exercises; it thus has many bomb craters across the site. The effect of tourists is far greater than this, even.

Amenities at the site are very important. A suite of buildings were produced in the 1980s including a gift shop and cafe to accomodate for visitors.

Marked nature trails allow tourists to view the dunes without causing more damage to them. Zoning has had to occur on the shoreline to prevent clashes between activities.


Scarborough’s spa waters were discovered in 1626 and wealthy people came to “take the waters”. The waters were believed to have medicinal value. By 1760 lodging houses had been built. In 1845 a railway connection enabled people to ravel ot the area cheaply for a day. By the early twentieth century, many people were visiting for a week as a holiday.

Scarborough expanded rapidly Southwards. By 1915 no space was left between the sea and the scarp slope, so a new area to the North was developed. The resort started stagnating in the 1970’s as people could then afford to go on cheap holidays abroad to sunnier areas.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach is a 29km long bank. Pebbles vary from around pea size at Burton Bradstock to tennis ball size at Portland. The grading of particles is due to longshore drift. Waves in the prevailing wind’s direction are strong enough to carry any sediment, regardless of size, while when waves travel in the other direction they are weaker so can only take smaller sediment. The main direction of the wind at Chesil beach is from the South West.

At its tallest, the beach is up to 15m high. Chesil Beach started as an offshore bar 10,000 years ago which gradually rolled onshore as sea levels rose.

(Image Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesil_Beach http://travel.aol.co.uk/2012/10/05/womans-body-found-in-sea-off-dorset-beach/ )

Cuckmere Haven Management

Cuckmere Haven attracts 350,000 tourists per year. The land is protected only by a wooden groyne and a concrete sea wall. The wall’s maintenance is paid for by a £200,000 crowd-funded web campaign by residents in the 200-year cottages directly behind it (at http://www.cuckmerehavenos.org); dozens of people have already been involved in plugging the holes in the concrete wall.There are no official protections to the cottages.

The cottages were originally coastguard cottages and were built in the 1820s when smugglers used the estuary of cuckmere haven for bringing in barrels of French goods like brandy without having to pay duty. The valley later became an attraction for painters and tourists. During WWII the river was used for navigation for Luftwaffe bombers heading for London. The estuary had pillboxes built into it, as well as tank traps and barbed wire. It was one of the few places not protected by cliffs on the South coast of England.

There is a brass plaque to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who died in 1940 when the Haven was strafed by a Messerschmit. The cottages were requisitioned by the army and, in compensation for the damage to the cottages by the end of the war, a sea wall was built in front in 1947.

The sea was at least 30m further away at the start of the 20th century than in 1947 when the wall was built.

Greenhouse Development

The Greenhouse project is part of the South Leeds urban regeneration scheme, and is 10 minutes’ walk away from Leeds’ city centre, and is also close to the main railway station and motorway network. A disused former industrial building i being redeveloped to form part of the first carbon-zero mixed-use development in the UK which produces more energy than it uses. The development will have 172 one to three bedroom eco-homes and offices, all set around a communal landscaped courtyard.

The scheme includes:

  • Shops and cafes
  • A medical centre
  • A nursery
  • Parks with children’s playgrounds
  • A sports centre with a swimming pool
  • A conference centre with a full range of business facilities
  • High-tech offices
  • Allotments where people can grow fruit and vegetables

Sustainable design

Energy generation

  • Ground-source heat pumps draw water from 80 m below the building and use heat-exchange technology to provide hot water, heating and air cooling
  • One large wind turbine provides electricity for every home, as well as for local businesses
  • Smaller rooftop wind turbines provide electricity for lighting corridors and open spaces
  • Rooftop solar panels will be used for hot water in each home.

Energy saving technology

  • A “super insulation” system will keep the homes warm in winter and cool in summer
  • Double-glazing units will reduce heat loss
  • Low-energy washing machines and appliances are provided in each home


  • A car club of vehicles powered by renewable energy is available for residents to use
  • “Green” cabs and buses using renewable energy are available for residents’ use
  • Every house will have bicycle storage and free bike hire will be available

Resource management

  • Allotments are available so residents can grow food
  • Recycling facilities available

Abbot’s Hall Farm

Activities and uses

  • Recreational area
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Has special protection due to housing rare birds and wildlife, such a the salt march solitary bee, water voles, adders, Brent geese, lapwing and red shanks.

Need for Management

  • In 1600’s there were 40,000 hectares of saltmarsh and now there are only 2,600
  • Loss of flora and fauna
  • The saltmarsh habitat is a natural sea defense
  • Heavy engineering in sensitive areas could damage the environment as well as being expensive

Low lying areas have been protected by a sea wall which has caused erosion of the marsh due to coastal squeeze. These walls are limited anyway because of sea level rise. Accretion of material in a saltmarsh can help counteract sea level rise.

Management ideas

Aims to

  • Support Essex wildlife trust
  • provide leisure and recreation facilities
  • show how farming and conservation can collaborate
  • show areas can be protected without hard engineering
  • increase the nursery for sea life


  • Sea wall was breached in 2002
  • Counter walls have been constructed at both ends of existing walls to protect the farmland
  • Creating new environments for aquatic life

Downham Market biofuel refinery

In Downham Market, East England, a biofuel refinery backs onto a sugar refinery plant. The factors have combined heating and power; 80% of the energy used to manufacture the biofuel is waste product from the sugar. The site produces 50MW annually which is fed back to the national grid. Surplus heat is injected into greenhouses, which receive the CO2 emissions, and also helps crop growth.

River Mole part II

(Read part I First: https://deigmologyblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/river-mole-part-i/)

Factors affecting flood risk

  • Most of bedrock is impermeable, largely Wealden clays and greensand; 60% is “low permeability”
  • Basin shape- the river has two “sections” to it’s catchment basin. The upper river is mostly circular while the lower river is mostly long and thin. This shape is exacerbated by the Mole gap at Dorking, where the river has to pass through a narrow gap in chalk hills. During flooding, water can become trapped there, worsening the impacts of the flooding on the town. Circular basins result in higher and shorter flood peaks.
  • The Mole has higher relief than most of Southern England, with maximum elevation of 265m at Leith Hill. The Downs from Ranmore to Box Hill are 100m taller than the valley below.
  • Precipitation- the Mole has a fairly modest 750mm/pa.
  • Gatwick airport- only a narrow channel is available for water to flow through
  • Prevalence of urban areas. Urban areas mean more concrete, which is impermeable.
  • Effluent discharge- The water is normally treated and fed into the Mole. Some effluence comes from other catchment areas.

Flood defense schemes:

Upper Mole

  • Upper Mole alleviation scheme: Protects urban areas n upper river- £15 million Environment Agency project
  • Upgrading of flood retention at Clay lake
  • Constructing a higher dam wall at Tilgate Lake (adding 2.5m onto the height)
  • River Mole redirected at Gatwick Airport, running underneath it
  • Flood ponds at Gatwick. Latest pond can store 180,000 m^3 of water, supposedly halving flood risk. Water is tested and has its quality improved to high standards before being allowed back into the river, to ensure heavy metals from the planes being washed off do not enter the river.
  • Worth Farm

Worth Farm is located near Crawley and the M23 motorway. An embankment dam 6.5m tall has been built along the farm. No water is stored in the reservoir through most of the year, and the land can be used for farming, mostly of cattle.

During floods, the water in the Mole that would normally just flow under the embankment is captured and held, creating a reservoir. Over a few days, this water slowly drains out.

Water level can rise by 3.5m behind the embankment, which is predicted to occur 20% of years, while reaching peak capacity is predicted to happen once every 200 years on average.

Lower Mole

  • Weirs (normally natural-looking features involving using branches to redirect and limit the flow of water) and bank defenses at Molesey built in 1968.
  • Barrage preventing discharge directly into the Thames, reducing any potential impacts (unlikely to be much!) upon London
  • Redeveloping natural local wetlands
  • Moors Project managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust
  • Creating Water Meadows. Reinserting natural environments, and vegetation, which can absorb the impact of flooding and intercept some water to reduce the volume continuing to move downstream
  • Flood warning scheme

Factors affecting management schemes

  • If flooding worsened after installations of defenses elsewhere, tensions are created between towns
  • Hard engineering requires frequent repairs
  • Natural replacements of the environment can be expensive and take a while to become cost effective
  • Hard engineering is expensive to build
  • Locals in Leatherhead blame Molesey defenses for the flooding in their town
  • Hard engineering can affect an area’s aesthetic appeal.

Cambridge Guided Bus System

The busway is a dedicated piece of track which the buses’ wheels fit into.

  • Low land usage
  • Land between the tracks can be used for drainage
  • No other vehicles can use the track
  • Smooth ride

The bus-way opened in 2009, costing £116 million, built between St Ives and Cambridge. The aim is to provide an alternate route to car use  along the congested A14.


  • Links various villages
  • Each stop has a shelter and cycle parking
  • Park and ride facilities are available in St Ives, Longstanton and Cambridge
  • Provides a fast service to Cambridge every ten minutes.
  • Buses upon reaching Cambridge can leave the bus-way and enter normal roads.
  • Paths beside the bus-way for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Area being  replanted and landscaped after construction

(Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stagecoach_Huntingdonshire_21222_AE09_GYS_and_Cambridge_Guided_Busway.jpg)