Holderness Coast: The part of Yorkshire's coast which is one of the fastest eroding in Europe

The 35-mile-long cliffs between Bridlington and Spurn Point form one Europe’s fasted eroding coastlines, disappearing at an average annual rate of roughly six feet.

Washed twice daily by North Sea tides, an estimated 2 million tonnes of material are said to be removed every year.

Geologists believe that three miles of land have been lost since Roman Times, destroying 23 towns and villages.

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The process is said to be unstoppable and has been going on since the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, when glaciers moved down the coast and pushed clay onto the east side of the Yorkshire Wolds.

The Holderness CoastThe Holderness Coast
The Holderness Coast

Once clay and its topsoil gets wet it slumps and rolls into the sea.

The list of villages lost to this process includes long-forgotten names like Colden Parva, Ringborough, Monkwell, Sand-le-Mere, Waxholme, Dimlington and Ravenser Odd.

The latter was established near the mountain of the Humber in the 13th century and within 50 years had over 100 houses and a flourishing market.

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So big did Ravenser Odd become that it was granted a borough charter and considered more important than Hull.

By 1362 it had been destroyed, and is now cited as a warning that all villages along this coast - no matter how big - are not safe from the waves.

To try to reduce the damage, the local East Riding District Council has installed a range of sea defences, including groynes to trap and stabilise the sediment, concrete blocks and sea walls.

But the sea remains relentless, and last winter a storm was reported to have moved a holiday chalet development 30ft closer to the beach. With the cost of concreting the coast put at more than £2m per 100 yards, most protection is focused on towns like Hornsea and Withernsea and the important North Sea gas terminal at Easington.

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