Erosion of the coastline affects the way we use and manage the coast. On this stretch of coast between Portstewart and Portrush we can see the headlands, bays and beaches created by the relentless attack of the waves.
The rock along this stretch of coast is basalt. It is a hard igneous rock and is less prone to erosion. However, in time these too will be worn away.
These 8 houses are sitting on a headland, in time the sea will erode the cliff and the houses will collapse. What can be done to prevent this happening, what can we do and who should pay?
Further west along the coast is Downhill Palace. Perched on the top of a 40 m basalt cliff is Mussenden Temple which was built as a library for the Palace. The Bishop of Derry sited the library on the cliff so he could enjoy spectacular views over the North Channel.
During winter storms 15m waves crash in to the cliff with a force of several tons. Tiny pockets of air get trapped in the face of the cliff and this has the same effect as blasting the cliff with a compressed air hose. The rock shatters and breaks.
Over the years the rocks have been attacked by waves. The stack to the left of the railway tunnel is evidence that the sea has already eroded part of this cliff.
It is thought that the cliff has retreated by 10m, over the 200 years since the temple was built. By 1996 the cliff had eroded to the extent that it was feared that the temple was in danger of falling into the sea. Metal rods were inserted into the rock to reinforce the cliff face and to prevent further erosion.
Erosion of the coastline affects the way we use and manage the coast.
Mussenden Temple is perched on the top of a 40 m basalt cliff.
Over the years the cliff face has been attacked by waves, eroding the rock.
The cliff has retreated by around 10m since the temple was built. In 1996 metal rods were inserted into the rock to reinforce the cliff face.