Activities

Lack of a natural shingle supply means that Sovereign Harbour sea defences, like many others along the south coast, must be continually maintained. Sovereign Harbour not only prevents the natural drift of shingle, but it also creates an erosion problem in front of the housing development. Consequently five specific and regular maintenance activities occur during the year.

Shingle Transfer

Shingle that collects against the south harbour arm has to be transferred around the harbour. This has to be done by road during the winter months in accordance with restrictions imposed by Eastbourne Borough Council. Lorries get onto the beach via a designated access point by the eastern Martello tower and drive west along the beach to the area by the outer harbour where material is stockpiled. Work is from 07:30 to 17:00 daily, Monday to Friday .

Shingle that collects against the south harbour arm has to be transferred around the harbour.

Reprofiling

The 300m of beach east of the harbour is particularly volatile and can erode quickly in a storm. A bulldozer will usually work here all winter trying to retain the required width of shingle. This work has to be tidal in order to recover gravel drawn down the beach, so starts 3 hours before and finishes 3 hours after LW. This can be as early as 05:00 or as late as 22:00.

The 300m of beach east of the harbour is particularly volatile and can erode quickly in a storm.

Recycling

Reprofiling cannot prevent the loss of shingle. Before it travels too far it is recovered and transported back to the Scour Hole area by dumptruck. This work is dependant on the rate at which shingle is lost, but generally happens three times a year in October, January and close to Easter for three days at a time. Work is from 07:30 to 17:00 daily, Monday to Friday.

Replenishment

To counteract overall losses new shingle is brought to the beach by dredger during the summer. The Scour Hole at the end of the rock revetment is a main target area and will be recharged every year. Shingle is delivered every high tide; a bulldozer and an excavator then move the new material from the foreshore during the following low water. This happens day and night until the work is completed, usually about a week.

New shingle is brought to the beach by dredger during the summer.

Monitoring

In order to quantify how much shingle has been lost, or is needed to provide the necessary standard of defence, the beach is regularly surveyed using a GPS receiver mounted on a quad bike. Resulting quantities are used to determine the timing and extent of the activities described above. Surveys are undertaken monthly, using an early morning spring tide and starting around dawn.

Finally, regular visual and photographic inspections are carried out either using the quad bike or a dark blue Nissan Terrano, which carries Pevensey Coastal Defence logo and an orange flashing amber beacon. We try to minimise our vehicular presence on the beach, especially in summer, but using them does enable us carry out our work in a quick and efficient manner.

The beach is regularly surveyed using a GPS receiver mounted on a quad bike.

Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd operates an "open door" policy for residents in its Coast Road office, where further details of operations can be obtained from Ian Thomas, the Project Manager. There is also an Annual Forum held in Pevensey Bay village hall during April (advertised in the local press) when display boards are used to illustrate various aspects involved with the project and local sea defence issues.

Some of the images on this page have been supplied courtesy of Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd.

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