Sea Reclamation

Monday, 7th April 2008 by

Across the globe there are various land reclamation projects which aim to create new building sites by dredging up the seabed.

However, in the small English town of Happisburgh that process is being reversed, as the waves tear apart the coast and drag the land away into the North sea.

The rate of erosion is so fast that houses are being abandoned as they fall into the sea, and homes that once boasted a long garden up to the sea edge now hang precariously over it.


In 1959, work began to build sea defences along the edge of Beach Road to stop the tide eroding the cliff. As you can see, the defences had all but disappeared by the early 90s and in some places Beach Road now lies over 80m into the sea.


It’s a similar story near the small Brazilian city of São João da Barra, where high temperatures have accelerated coastal erosion and 183 buildings have fallen to the sea in the last 30 years.

The most recent building to be lost at Atafona beach is this high rise which just yesterday it finally gave up the struggle and collapsed. Local news broadcast a video clip of the building falling.

There’s more history and pictures of Happisburgh on the official website and pictures of Atafona and the fallen building on Flickr.

Thanks to Rob and Leo Carbonell.