The wonderfully wild nature of the place, the rocky Cornish land relentlessly bombarded by Atlantic cutters, has inspired poets, artists, and dreamers for a century.
His English heritage Launch a fundraising appeal He identified its six most vulnerable castles, warning that some of England’s most beloved sites could be lost if nothing is done.
Rob Woodside, property manager at English legacyHe said: “Erosion along the English coast is nothing new, but the rate of land loss we have seen over the past few years is alarming. Sea-level rise and regular storms pose a real danger to the future of many of our sites.”
Pieces of Tintagel fell into the sea long ago, but parts of the cliff directly in front of the visitor center have recently been lost to erosion, and eaten into the viewing area and coastal path.
Other vulnerable sites in southwest England include Cove Fort at Bayard, built in Tudor times to protect Dartmouth in Devon. It sits on a terrace cut from the rocky riverbank, a beautiful location but prone to flooding. English Heritage says work is urgently needed to investigate the impact of rising sea levels.
Off the Corniche coast, English Heritage is also concerned about the garrison walls of St Mary’s, the largest of the Scilly Islands. It was built after the attack of the fleet in 1588 due to fears that Spain would send a second fleet.
But the sea is now more of a threat than enemy forces, as the shape of the walls creates pinch points, or “armpits,” where the tidal force is concentrated.
The English Heritage site is also of interest to Bell’s Castle in Cumbria, located on a low island about half a mile off the coast in Morecambe Bay. A large part of the island has already been lost and the castle’s retention is in jeopardy.
Two castles in Hampshire are at stake. Calshot, built by Henry VIII, is in jeopardy, with work having to be done on the spit and foreshore.
Part of Hearst Castle, also built by Henry VIII, collapsed days before planned stabilization work on the site in February last year, after the sea was exposed and its foundations eroded. While the damaged portion was installed, the seawalls around Tudor were in dire need of repair and strengthening.
Woodside said: “The partial collapse of the Eastern Battery at Hearst Castle was a devastating reminder of the power of the sea and the dangers our coastal heritage faces, but Hearst is not an isolated case.
Hundreds of heritage sites in the UK and around the world are increasingly at risk. If these coastal properties are to survive the coming decades, we will need to strengthen their walls and build sea defenses to protect them.”