Coastal erosion on an OS Map

Erosion features

Here are some examples of erosion features you could identify on a map.

Name evidence

A good start is to look for name evidence.

On this extract, the term 'point' (meaning headland) appears at Warren Point 667421, 'cliff' at West Cliff 692383 and 'cove', indicating where erosion has produced a small bay, at Redrot Cove at 668394.

OS extract showing the location of Warren Point© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey 100039117

Shape

The shape of the coast is also a good indicator.

In this extract the large headlands at Burgh Island 646438 and Bolt Tail 667396 stand out, suggesting a much more resistant rock type than in the area that lies in between these headlands.

Smaller headlands like Warren Point and Thurlestone Rock 675414 enclose sandy bays like the ones at 676416 on the map.

Off the headland there are small islands - Mew Stone 725359 and Little Mew Stone, 727358. These will be former parts of the headland now worn down to be stacks or stumps. Burgh Island was separated from the mainland by erosion.

OS extract showing the large headlands at Burgh Island
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey 100039117

Symbol evidence

Symbol evidence is also important and we see the symbols for cliffs at 688383 and steep slopes at 704368. Around here, contour lines appear to run into the sea, indicating the height of the cliffs at that point.

The flat rock symbol on the seaward side of the coastline indicates a wave-cut platform at 669421.

OS extract showing cliff symbols on a coastline© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey 100039117e