Coastal erosion exposes ancient trees on Yorkshire beach

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Coastal erosion has exposed the remains of ancient trees on a Yorkshire beach, which one expert believes could be between 4,000 and 12,000 years old.

The blackened timbers can be seen at Tunstall, near Withernsea, close to the Sand Le Mere holiday park, where they have been preserved for millennia in clay.

One of the ancient trees which can be seen on the beach at Tunstall, East Yorkshire

One of the ancient trees which can be seen on the beach at Tunstall, East Yorkshire

Dr Peter Halkon, senior lecturer in archaeology at Hull University, said they were likely to be the remains of a forest submerged by a tidal surge - perhaps like the one in 2013 - and sea level rise in the Bronze Age.

Alternatively the finds at Tunstall could relate to one of the many ancient meres or shallow lakes formed as ice melted in Holderness after the last Ice Age, about 12,000 years ago.

But the only way to be sure was through further investigation, involving radiocarbon and tree-ring dating.

Dr Halkon said: “It provides evidence of sea level rise and how it needs to be taken seriously.

The timbers revealed on the beach could date from the last Ice Age

The timbers revealed on the beach could date from the last Ice Age

"It also reminds people that one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Europe is the North Sea coast of England, particularly Holderness because of the softer nature of its geological deposits.”

Coastal erosion threatens clifftop homes and road in Yorkshire
The incredible wreck that can still be seen at low tide on a Yorkshire beach
The last tidal surge in 2013 left hundreds of homes flooded round the Humber - with residents taken aback at the frightening speed with which the water moved.

In north Lincolnshire 15 villages in total were flooded and some 255 homes.

In South Ferriby residents reported hearing an eerie sound like a waterfall as water rushed in from the Humber.

Hornsea Mere

Hornsea Mere

In Hull drinkers in a pub told how they saw their own vehicles float away before retreating upstairs after a torrent of water rushed in from the Humber, crossing the A63 and into Ferensway.

In 1898, museum curator Thomas Sheppard discovered worked timbers on the landward side of the former mere at Sand Le Mere.

He thought these were the remains of a lake dwelling.

Hornsea Mere is now the only surviving example of the meres in Holderness - although traces can be seen in peaty streaks in several areas in the cliff face along the eroding coastline.