Coastline Survey Showed Big Changes To Scilly’s Beaches After Winter Storms

porthcressa beach newSurveyors from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory say the changes to Scilly’s beaches following this winter’s storms are the biggest they’ve seen in six years.

The team of four has been on the islands this week measuring selected stretched of the coastline of every island for a long-term monitoring project.

Emerald Siggery says they use sensitive GPS equipment to beam data to a base station on Telegraph Tower. By walking up and down the beaches, they get a profile of the shore, accurate to within 30mm.

Emerald says the group have been doing this in Scilly since 2008 and over that time, the shape of the beaches has been “very stable.”

But she says their visit in January, after the first winter storms hit the islands, showed big changes, particularly around Porthloo and Porthcressa. The new data will demonstrate whether there’s been any recovery since then.

And she says islanders have been approaching the team to point out parts of the coast that have eroded. Emerald says this is useful because it alerts them to areas that they hadn’t included in previous surveys.

The group have also used aircraft to collect high-resolution aerial photographs and make laser measurements of the shoreline.

Emerald says even though there have been significant changes, Scilly is one of the more stable areas of coastline on her patch, which stretches from Portland Bill, through the Southwest, and up as far as the Welsh Borders.

She says many of those areas have bigger problems and there’s nothing currently to worry about in Scilly.

The historical data is available on the Plymouth Coastal Observatory’s website here.