Climate change risk to coastal castles

Climate change risk to coastal castles

Lower the wall of Hurst Castle

Part of Hurst Castle in Hampshire collapsed in February 2021

Castles that have stood for centuries are at risk of being damaged by climate change, conservation charity English Heritage warns.

The charity, which manages more than 400 historic sites across England, highlighted six castles threatened by coastal erosion and rising sea levels.

These include Tintagel in Cornwall and Hurst Castle in Hampshire

He is appealing for money to repair walls and improve defenses against more powerful storms and waves.

“It seems that the whole natural dynamics of the coast in some places has been accelerated by climate change,” said Rob Woodside, English Heritage Estates Director, BBC News.

“What we’re trying to do now is basically buy time, so with places that we value, and people want to take care of them, we’ve put measures in place to protect them.”

There is a broad consensus among scientists that even if global warming greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced, global sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. Higher sea levels mean more powerful waves coming closer to shore, and faster coastal erosion.

Here are the six sites that English Heritage says are most at risk:

Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle

Sea defenses have now been put in place to protect Hurst Castle

Originally built by Tudor King Henry VIII between 1541 and 1544, part of the east wing of Hurst Castle collapsed into the sea in February 2021 after its foundations were eroded. As part of efforts to protect the castle, 5,000 tons of granite boulders have been placed in place to create a barrier, or “laboratory”.

The wall of Henry VIII’s Hurst Castle in Lymington falls

Tintagal

Tintagal

Tintagel in Cornwall is closely linked to the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Gathering

Erosion is not a new problem at Tintagel. It has been under attack from the wind and the sea since it was built in the 13th Century. Cliffs fall regularly and English Heritage says funding is urgently needed to repair damage from last winter’s storms.

Philip Castle

Philip Castle

Piel Castle in Cumbria was built to protect Barrow-in-Furness from pirates and raiders from Scotland.

Fourteenth Century Piel Castle is on a low island about half a mile off the coast in Morecambe Bay. Much of the island has already been lost to erosion and part of the castle fell into the sea in the 19th Century. English Heritage says the castle’s keep and bastions are now at risk from erosion and flooding.

Bayard Stable Fort

Bayard Stable Fort

Bayard’s Cove Fort is very vulnerable to flooding due to rising sea levels.

For the past 500 years, this Tudor fortress in Devon has guarded the narrow entrance to the Dart Estuary as the last line of defense to protect Dartmouth from attack from the sea.

Garrison Walls

Garrison Walls

The Grove Walls were gradually built to strengthen the defenses of the Isles of Scilly after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588

The shape of the Garrison Walls creates pinch points or “armpits”, where the tide focuses. English Heritage says these sections are extremely vulnerable to erosion and will be breached in the coming years if not protected.

Calshot Castle

Calshot Castle

Calshot Castle was built by Henry VIII to protect the entrance to Southampton

Calshot Castle is situated on a short, fragile spit of land in the River Solent. The site is at low level which makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels and erosion.

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