The general longshore transport direction from west to east moves beach material along the Eastbourne frontage towards Sovereign Harbour. Historically, this material would have found its way into Pevensey Bay but now accumulates in the area between Langney outfall and the southern harbour arm. As the process of longshore transport continues, the beach against the harbour arm would keep growing and eventually spill round the harbour arm and into the entrance channel. To avoid this, and to aid the beach material on its way eastwards, surplus shingle (between 5,000 and 15,000cu.m per year) is taken from the beach and transferred - or bypassed - round the harbour by lorry. It is placed either in a stockpile behind the north harbour's rock revetment or added directly to the scour hole at the eastern end of the revetment.
The stockpile acts as an emergency source of material for the winter months when it is often too rough for dredgers to be operating for extended periods.
Because of constraints imposed by Eastbourne Borough Council, the transfer operation only takes place between October 1st and March 31st each winter.
Aerial photo of the western harbour arm in May 2001 Aerial photo of the western harbour arm in Spring 2005
The harbour arm is built of rock and the space between the rocks allows some of the beach material to be driven through by storm waves, which can be seen at low tide as a strip of shingle along the inside of the harbour arm. Equally the rock spur built to hold the beach close to the base of the harbour arm is both small and porous so that beach material moves past and through it and occasionally has to be recovered from behind the spur.
Shingle that has moved through or over the harbour arm then moves northwest along its inner side and eventually would reach the lock gates. To prevent this from happening it is removed and it too is transferred to the northern side of Sovereign Harbour.
Pevensey Coastal Defence Ltd, Westminster House, Crompton Way, Segensworth West, Fareham, Hampshire, PO15 5SS
Registered in England, Company No. 03776520