Coastal Management In Porlock Bay

This resource has been developed for Exmoor National Park and is free to use. If you are planning  a field trip linked to this resource then please get in touch using this enquiry form to see how we can help .

Introduction and background to this resource

Key Question

Why is non-intervention in geomorphological processes considered the most sustainable coastal systems management option for Porlock Bay?

“A barrier subject to overwashing, landward migration, breaching and tidal lagoon development has been the natural condition within Porlock Bay throughout the past 4,000 years” (Defra/Environment Agency Technical Report 2001)

“It is clear that Porlock shingle ridge presents a classic coastal management problem in which natural forces and processes present both constraints and opportunities for coastal users” (Pethick 1996 p 1)

“The objective of the plan here is to allow this unprotected section of the coast to evolve naturally” (North Devon and Somerset Shoreline Management Plan 2010)

This resource explores the classic case study of Porlock Bay and the Key Question above through 10 Ancillary Questions. 

1-How have geomorphological processes shaped the coastal landforms at Porlock Bay?

2-How did the Porlock pebble ridge alter the morphology of the coast?

3 -How did human activity alter the marsh?

4 -Why has the pebble and shingle ridge at Porlock Bay become progressively more vulnerable to breaching?

5 - Why did the storm of October 28th and 29th 1996 cause a catastrophic breach in Porlock Ridge?

6- How has the geomorphic shoreline system at Porlock Marsh changed since October 1996?

7-Who actually determines how coastal environments such as Porlock Bay should be managed in the future?

8- Why was a policy of limited intervention adopted following the ridge failure?

9-Twenty years on what have the costs and benefits of the limited intervention policy been?

10 - How has the management of change at Porlock Marsh been affected by its location within the protected landscape of Exmoor National Park?

This resource was developed by David Weatherly for Exmoor National Park Authority with support from the Porlock Marsh Vision Group