The erosion of the Sussex coast
Shrinking SussexGlobal warming and rises in sea level are in the news practically every day and in Sussex, particularly at Selsey, there are great worries that eventually the sea may wash away the town.
This is nothing new. Thousands of acres of Sussex have been gobbled up by the sea over the last 10,000 years.
That sinking feelingIt is now well known that the southern part of the British Isles has been sinking slightly since the last Ice Age.
This is because the huge weight of the ice cap that covered the northern part of Britain during the last Ice Age is no longer pressing down on the north of the British Isles.
Very, very slowly the northern part of the country is springing up while the south is tilted forward and down.
The Sussex coast is right in the firing line of this threat.
Some lost villages of SussexWe know of many dramatic changes to the coastline and lost villages.
There are many others we donít know about because the evidence of ancient settlements has been literally washed away.
In the 17th century a large part of the village of Kingston, west of Ferring, was given up to the sea. The village vicar memorably noted the last service ever held at the church as the waves lapped at the church walls.
Cudlow used to be bigger than its neighbour the River Arun port of Littlehampton in the Middle Ages but it was abandoned at the end of the 16th century. Nearby the original Church of St Nicholas at Middleton fell into the sea in 1837.
The tiny village of Charlton (not to be confused with the thoroughly dry village of Charlton near Goodwood) between Pagham Harbour and Bognor also disappeared beneath the waves in 1341 after a huge storm inundated a large amount of farmland.
This huge storm was also responsible in the longer term for the silting up of Pagham Harbour and a huge reduction in its importance as a trade center.
Most famously of all St Wilfridís original cathedral at Selsey was also inundated and if any of it is still intact it now lies well offshore, with its bells supposedly still ringing about a mile south of Selsey Bill.
You might also like
- Exploring Chichester Harbour, once home of busy ports like Dell Quay which have now silted up
- Visiting Shoreham-by-Sea, where huge changes to the mouth of the River Adur resulted in the town being moved
- East Head Spit, West Wittering's sandy beach and attempts to manage the coastline there
- More lost villages of West Sussex
- The flooding and reclamation of Pagham Harbour
- Diving clubs which explore the sea bed off the Sussex coast
- Boat charter companies along the West Sussex coast who can take you out for a cruise above the sites of inundated Sussex villages
- Good seaside self catering holiday accommodation in Sussex
- Bognor beach
- Pagham Harbour
- Boat Builders
- Boat Moorings
- Chichester Harbour sailing
- Kite surfing
- Sea fishing
- Offshore Diving
- Sea levels
- Sussex beaches
- Selsey Flood Defences
- Seaside holiday accommodation
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath