Written by MSc ECE student Katie Chalk, Pictures contributed by the ECE 2014/2015 cohort:
The ECE students of 2014-2015 undertook their first fieldtrip to the Isle of Wight. Out of the lecture theatre and into the coastal environment!
This provided an excellent opportunity to engage with different types of coastlines, coastal features and the diverse issues that each coastline faces. The fieldtrip also gave a chance for students to socialise not only with other course members but with people from other courses as well as people from all around the world, from Southampton to Chile to Indonesia. Catching the ferry early at sunrise from Southampton allowed the students to catch a glimpse of a dredger at work within Southampton water.
Once at the Isle of Wight, the first stop was Freshwater Bay, with talks lead by Professor Robert Nicholls, Dr Max Barton and Dr Joel Smethurst. For many it was the first chance to stand on a shingle beach.
The next stop along the South West coast looked at brook bay and Dr Max Barton explained how the mudslide of the cliffs threatened the military road (A3055) above. As well as these mudslides the road was affected further north due to open joints being discovered beneath the road, measures were taken to try and delay the effects of cliff erosion. This involved placing 260 reinforced concrete bored piles in hope that they would provide support to the Chalk underlying the road.
Lunch soon followed at the Wight Mouse Inn at Chale.
The afternoon began with a walk that lead to the region known as ‘The Undercliff’ at St Catherine’s point. It was evident that this area suffered greatly from landslides and for some time. Dr Max Barton explained that the landslides were mainly compound in type and that they have extended 2.8km offshore into the Northern Slope of St Catherine’s deep.
As the day drew to an end, Professor Robert Nicholls and Dr Max Barton explained the current coastal defences situated at Niton, with rock revetments in place to protect the soft cliffs behind.
Before catching the ferry back to Southampton, Harbour Master Captain Stuart McIntosh spoke to the ECE students about the processes involved and the great effort required in order to gain permission for the new breakwater to be built at Cowes Harbour. Along with the completion of the necessary stages for the breakwater.