How will these resources help you? 

GCSE geography students studying rivers and coasts options, A-level geographers and others need to be able to exemplify their understanding of coastal management with case studies of defence schemes. These resources cover both river and coastal schemes, including hard and soft engineering approaches. They focus on the popular case studies of the Yorkshire coastline around Hornsea and the River Severn. Using these resources will enable teachers and students to go beyond the basics included in textbooks and develop a much deeper understanding of specific management schemes in the UK. 

How are coastlines around the UK being managed?

Shoreline management plans (SMPs)

by Environment Agency, published by GOV.UK, (2022)

This web page will take you to a treasure trove of resources related to the shoreline management plans for the UK. Some SMPs have useful summary leaflets, such as this one for the North Devon and Somerset coast. Most include detailed documents with maps, information about short, medium and long-term plans and more, such as this example for the rapidly eroding Yorkshire Coastline. The resources will fascinate teachers and students interested in how our coastlines are managed. 

How do people cope with living on the most rapidly eroding coastline in Europe?

Hornsea – the coastal town battling against shifting sands

by Chris Titley, published by Great British Life, (2011)

The coastline of Yorkshire between Flamborough Head and Spurn Head is well known for its rapid coastal erosion, but only the town of Hornsea is defended by hard engineering structures. This very readable article explains why the coastline is eroding so rapidly, how and why Hornsea is defended and how people living elsewhere along this coastline adapt to the retreat of the cliffs. The article is full of hope, describing how Hornsea intends to continue to develop, despite the threat of the sea. Teachers could use this article in conjunction with the SMP from the resource above to support students in developing a deep understanding of this example. 

How is the River Severn managed?

River management: a case study of the River Severn

by Andy Owen, published by The Geographical Association, (2021)

As with all Geography Education Online resources, this is designed for students to investigate the topic independently, with key information about the management of the River Severn, useful links and activities to complete. The PowerPoint resource includes information about flood defences in Newtown and Shrewsbury, considering both hard and soft approaches. There is also an interesting activity using a flood GIS to get students thinking. 

Why are different river management strategies used in different contexts?

Rivers Knowledge Boosters: Hard engineering approaches to river management; Problems of hard engineering & 'softer' alternatives

published by Time for Geography and University of Aberystwyth

These videos explore river management schemes in the context of the rivers Severn (Hafren), Ystwyth and Rheidol. The first focuses on hard engineering solutions and the second evaluates them, suggesting problems and how softer alternatives may prove more effective. As always, these Time for Geography resources use experts to explain what is happening in places that are familiar to them, making them particularly informative. These videos compliment the River Management resource which also focuses on the River Severn.

You can watch the second video here
Coastal explorer, published by East Riding of Yorkshire Council Access this resource
Coastal erosion: Yorkshire residents living on the cliff edge on why they don’t plan on moving by Joe Gerrard, published by The Yorkshire Post, (2021) Read the article
Shrewsbury Under Water: How is our Flood Resilience?, published by My Shrewsbury, (2023) Read the article
Yorkshire coast: How the erosion and deposition of the North Sea is impacting the Yorkshire coast by The Great British Countryside, published by BBC One, (2012) Watch the video
Catherine Owen is Head of Geography at The King Alfred School an Academy, a CGeog and a Geographical Association Consultant. She writes and presents for OUP, Hodder Geography, Tutor2U and more.

Text © Catherine Owen, 2022-2023