Winterton Great Valley Protected

The beautiful Great Winterton Valley that runs between Hemsby and through Winterton-on-Sea contains much wildlife and a selection of rare fauna. It, plus the Long Beach housing along its western edge, was severely threatened by the pre-Christmas North Sea Surge that destroyed the last remaining dune between the valley to let in the sea.

Winterton Great Valley Protected1

The above picture, taken by aerial photographer Mike Page, shows the weak link in the natural dune defence. Prior to this it was a very large crater created in the centre of the dunes formed when in 1945 a WW-II V2 Rocket descended, but then it still had a reasonably effective dune font between it and the sea. But the when the beach drop since allowed the sea to reach and undermine the fronting dunes in December 2013 the defence disappeared to allow both the wind to blow out the loose sand and the sea to enter the vulnerable low laying valley behind it, widening the gap at a rather alarming rate’

Winterton Great Valley Protected2After much people pushing and debate since then remedial action has at last been taken. Commissioned by the borough council, approved by Natural England and the landowner, John Groat, following consultation with the Environment Agency, a joint venture between Winterton Parish Council, Hemsby Parish Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council has resulted in employing thirty-one builders aggregate grab bags each filled with one tonne of sand from Great Yarmouth’s Central Beach to plug the gap. They now form a staggered line within the low part of the dunes so people can still pass through.

The intention is to offer some protection in the event of another surge. James Cole, who runs Winterton Valley Estate holiday chalet park close to the gap, provided the labour for the work, the cost of the entire scheme came to £4,173, with £500 coming from Winterton and Hemsby parish councils and the remainder from the borough council.

Winterton Great Valley Protected3Since then chestnut fencing has been installed to act as a guideway to the beach and keep people off the marram dunes. They will have the additional benefit of capturing wind blown sand to further protect the defence. It is now hoped that the defences will hold for at least twenty years.


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