After weeks of strong winds and waves battering the North Devon coast, this weekend was sunny and dry. It seemed that almost the whole village was out and about and making the most of the fair weather. I went down to Crow Point, a spit of sand marking the point where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet the Atlantic.
This is the southern tip of Braunton Burrows , a massive sand dune system and Britain’s first Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Crow Point has always been vulnerable to storms, but in the mid 50s tons of huge boulders were brought in to help form a strong defence. Over the years these have formed the base of an unbroken line of grass-topped dunes; that is until this month.
Over the past decade I have witnessed some erosion of a section of the dunes, but today I saw for myself the devastating damage caused by a series of storms which the whole country has endured in the first few weeks of 2014. One section of the dunes, maybe 300m long, has completely disappeared exposing a row of boulders. I have no idea of the probability of a new dune forming; I suspect it is a no-hoper. The dunes are populated by a tough grass called marram, and without that any man-made construct will not last; it will be washed and blown away. So now the very end of the sand dune spit, home to Trinity solar-powered lighthouse, is an island at hightide. click on pic to view large