Search site


(This article is a 2 minute read)

Lauren EverydayAmazing

I monitor the effect of the waves on our coastline and design sea defences 

I am part of a team which manages the New Forest's coastline to protect people and property from the effects of flooding and coastal erosion.  Essentially I spend my time preparing for and clearing up after storms.

Using laser scanning, GPS, drones and even a mini-autonomous survey vessel submarine, our team of coastal scientists, surveyors and engineers, checks for erosion and movement of beach materials caused by waves, tides and currents. Using that information we can see which areas of the coast need extra protection and how our existing coastal defences are working.

Some coastal environments are naturally well protected, while others might need engineered solutions like sea walls. The most effective and efficient natural defence is a beach. Hordle Cliff is an ideal combination of a wide beach backed by a cliff which slowly erodes to provide additional material for the beach. Environments like saltmarsh also provide natural protection to our coastline.

We use computer software to model the effects of the sea and how different structures might provide protection to a vulnerable stretch of coastline. We design a sea defence, which could be a new sea wall or breakwater, timber groynes, or additional material added to build up the beach. Then we work with partners like the Environment Agency and Natural England, to get the funding in place and get the structure built.

Maintaining existing sea defences is a big part of what we do. We have just finished restoring wooden groynes at Calshot Beach to ensure they are keeping the beach in place. In 1996, after violent storms, a major coastal project saw 300,000 cubic metres of beach material and 125,000 tonnes of rock used to stabilise Hurst Spit. The spit, known as the guardian of the western Solent, reduces the coastal flooding risk and protects environmentally important salt marshes and mudflats. Massive storms in 2013 and 2014 washed away huge quantities of shingle from the spit, so we are now in the early stages of finding a long term solution to maintain the spit into the future.  

I love my job. I am either at the coast or studying it! We deal with everything from storm damage to seals, the remains of World War II anti-invasion devices to unexploded bombs. It is satisfying to know that the coastal protection work we are doing could protect our shoreline for many decades.

Lauren - Our Graduate Coastal Engineer

teal bullet  More information about: The New Forest coast

Updated: 13 Dec 2017
Powered by GOSS iCM