2013 Shifting shores report

Clean-up crew moving seaweed at Middle Beach, Studland © Nick Meers

Clean-up crew moving seaweed at Middle Beach, Studland

In the United Kingdom no one lives more than 75 miles from the sea.
For us, as an island nation, the sea has an all-embracing presence. Spiritually and physically we are intimately connected with our shores. The sea has immense power, which we ignore at our peril.

Did you know that with 1,130 kilometres of coastline in our care, we now own nearly one tenth of the coast of England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The extent of our coastal holdings – and the variety of development and coastal features that they encompass – gives us a unique window on the issues of coastal change. The coast is an immensely dynamic environment. Sea-level rise and climate change are forecast to increase the scale and pace of coastal change.

To help plan for the future, we have commissioned research to assess how the coastline is likely to change over the next 100 years. The results suggest that many of the Trust’s important sites are at risk from coastal erosion and flooding. As a result we face some difficult choices in managing this change, and need to make well-informed decisions that stand the test of time.
Learning from experience, our policy now favours adaptation, to give us time and space to change with the coast and work with the forces of nature.
We are not alone in facing challenges from climate change and sea-level rise. People’s homes and livelihoods are at stake, so wider solutions are needed to help vulnerable communities live with a changing coast.

We have looked at several areas around Britain, and produced reports examining the problems in closer detail.

Download the report you're interested in to see the bigger picture.