US News As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can't be saved

10:27  06 april  2018
10:27  06 april  2018 Source:   PRI

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Three boats, delivered by Odin onto this barren arm, jutting into the deep. Some of them are very old. The edge of an axe blade crumbles in my hand as I touch it. Do you think this is the home of a scientist? My grandfather was an eccentric who loved the sea and old things.”

It seemed every alley we walked down we found another structure in crumbles . The water was a bit cold so he wasn' t a huge fan, but if we held onto him to make sure his little toes didn' t get too wet he was On our last night we met a family from Agadir who were heading home the following day.

Comparison of Happisburgh coastline in 2001 and 2014: Happisburgh in 2001 and 2014. The Bayless house is indicated in both in a yellow box. © Credit: Mike Page/Mike Page Aerial Photography Happisburgh in 2001 and 2014. The Bayless house is indicated in both in a yellow box.

It’s a blustery winter day on the English coast and Nicola Bayless is walking along the Happisburgh cliffs with her daughter Darcy, surveying the damage after a recent storm.

“My God. I haven’t seen it for a few days,” she says, and points to a cascade of orange clay that had recently sheared off the cliff and onto the beach below.

“All this is part of the cliff that used to be,” she says. “It’s taken away quite a lot.”

The sky and sea are the same shade of gray, and Darcy Bayless, 15, keeps huddling into her jacket for warmth.

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“My third house is about to crumble into the sea as well. I would like to cry, but a chief cannot cry.” Local boys stand on the terrace of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Castle. A home destroyed by rising sea levels in the village of Agbavi in Togo.

Then into the territory of five-stringed lyres. A village or oasis of preludes and interludes. It all ended on a promontory overlooking the sea , where they left her and returned to their homes . The ———— tribe that had saved the burned pilot brought him into the British base at Siwa in 1944.

“The last time I was here there was a full ramp, so you could walk down, and there was loads of people coming down to come and see all the cliffs,” Darcy says.

That ramp down to the beach washed away this winter. A footpath worn into the grass that used to hug the edge of the cliff now leads to nothing, ending abruptly where a piece of cliff has fallen away.

“I’m used to everyone going on and on about the erosion down here, but when I saw it like this, I was like oh, this is different,” Darcy says.

A historic village crumbling into the sea

Happisburgh, population roughly 1,400, is a historic village on England’s Norfolk coast best know for how locals pronounce its name (it’s haze-boro, not hapis-burg), its iconic red-and-white striped lighthouse, and the fact that it’s crumbling into the sea.

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As usual when a problem arose, the entire family flung itself with enthusiasm into the task of solving it. In terrible pain he started to run for the village , but he never reached it. He fell down dead, down there It was during one of these excursions to the sea that she met an over-good-looking young Turk.

Nine hundred of the strongest men were brought to lift me onto it with ropes and pulleys, and in less than three hours I was raised and placed into the machine and tied up tightly in it. The farmer’s wife cut up a bit of meat for me and crumbled some bread and put it in front of me.

It’s not alone. Across England, the Environment Agency estimates that roughly 2,700 homes and businesses will be vulnerable to coastal erosion in the next 50 years.

The Baylesses’ house will be gone in that timeframe. They live within sight of the Happisburgh cliffs, little more than the length of a football field away, in a 1950s-era, brick two-story house. Nicola Bayless says the walls shake when pieces of the cliff fall off.

Hill House Inn in Happisburgh: The Hill House Inn, listed in the UK’s register of historic places, sits at the center of Happisburgh’s small historic center. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI The Hill House Inn, listed in the UK’s register of historic places, sits at the center of Happisburgh’s small historic center.

Their neighbor Bryony Nierop-Reading made national news several years ago when she refused to leave her bungalow, even when the bathroom hung over the edge of the cliff. Her house was finally demolished in 2013, the year after nine of her neighbor’s homes met the same fate before they could fall into the sea.

As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can't be saved

  As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can't be saved It’s a blustery winter day on the English coast and Nicola Bayless is walking along the Happisburgh cliffs with her daughter Darcy, surveying the damage after a recent storm. “My God. I haven’t seen“My God. I haven’t seen it for a few days,” she says, and points to a cascade of orange clay that had recently sheared off the cliff and onto the beach below.

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The huge sea wall and floodgates took 12 years to build and had been widely regarded as a £20million folly. But without it, Fudai would have disappeared,' said seaweed fisherman Satoshi Kaneko, 55, whose business has been ruined but who is happy to have his family and home intact.

Today, visitors pass the Bayless’s house when they walk from the famous cliffs toward the quaint village center to climb the tower of the 15th-century church, or look at the historic thatched roof cottages.

“I’ve had people come up to me and go, ‘So how long have you lived here, and how long have you got left?'” says Darcy Bayless. “I just tell them, ‘I don’t know now,’ because it’s so unpredictable.”

In 2000, shortly before the Baylesses moved to Happisburgh, Nicola says surveyors estimated the house they live in now had about 150 years left. Now she estimates it has 25, maybe less.

A coastal erosion risk map published in a 2012 local planning document puts the Baylesses’s house in a swath of coastline expected to be at risk of erosion by 2055. But local experts point out that the map is old, and hasn’t been updated to reflect erosion after recent major storms. Several properties named in that document as at risk of erosion by 2025, are gone already.

“In the last 26 years that my wife and I have been in this village,” says Clive Stockton, the landlord at the village pub and a local expert on coastal erosion, “we’ve lost 36 houses, four businesses, the coast guard, the lifeboat [station], the public car park, the public toilets, and virtually all the beach access.”

As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can't be saved

  As a British village crumbles into the sea, a family holds onto a home that can't be saved It’s a blustery winter day on the English coast and Nicola Bayless is walking along the Happisburgh cliffs with her daughter Darcy, surveying the damage after a recent storm. “My God. I haven’t seen“My God. I haven’t seen it for a few days,” she says, and points to a cascade of orange clay that had recently sheared off the cliff and onto the beach below.

Britain's vanishing communities: Hundreds of homes set to disappear into the North Sea over the 200 homes predicted to disappear on East Yorkshire cliffs near Bridlington Around 30 villages have disappeared into the North Sea since Roman times

“No,” the boy said. “But I will see something that he cannot see such as a bird working and get him to come out after dolphin.” Each line, as thick around as a big pencil, was looped onto a The sea had risen considerably. But it was a fair-weather breeze and he had to have it to get home .

Erosion in Happisburgh is a long-term problem

The North Sea has been eating away at Happisburgh’s cliffs for 5,000 years. Estimates put the average historical rate of erosion at somewhere between one and three feet per year, according to Catherine Pennington, a geologist with the British Geological Survey.

That erosion sped up in the 1990s, after timber defenses erected along much of the coastline following deadly flooding in 1953 started collapsing in Happisburgh and weren’t replaced. That left the cliffs in the village vulnerable.

Coffee shop sign: Clive Stockton opened a coffee shop and restaurant in the Hill House Inn’s old stables about five years ago to expand the business. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI Clive Stockton opened a coffee shop and restaurant in the Hill House Inn’s old stables about five years ago to expand the business.

“At Happisburgh, the cliffs are very soft,” Pennington wrote in an email. “You can dig into the upper sand layer with your hands — and the cliffs face northeast, meaning they are vulnerable to storms and sea conditions from the north.”

Clive Stockton puts it more bluntly. “We are being torn to pieces,” he says.

Controversial new management policies are more sustainable, but leave some feeling abandoned

Primary school in Happisburgh: The primary school in Happisburgh, England. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI The primary school in Happisburgh, England.

Since the 1990s, England’s coastline has been sorted into categories that guide management policies for stretches of the shore. Between 2015 and 2021, the UK Environment Agency says it is spending $3.7 billion on projects in England — both inland and on the coast — to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. Without these protection measures, it says up to 28,000 properties would be at risk from coastal erosion in just 50 years, instead of about 2,700.

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Poliziano’s had crumbled into dust. It all ended on a promontory overlooking the sea , where they left her and returned to their homes . The _ tribe that had saved the burned pilot brought him into the British base at Siwa in 1944.

Under these management plans, some pieces of the coast are designated for protection from erosion with artificial defenses under a so-called “hold the line” approach that aims to keep the shoreline at its current location.

a close up of a rock near the ocean © Carolyn Beeler/PRI

But the government says it can’t protect the entire coastline. Mainland Great Britain — including England, Scotland and Wales — has more than 11,000 miles of shoreline and rising seas. Increased storminess fueled by climate change is expected to make erosion and flooding worse.

St. Mary's Church in Happisburgh: St. Mary’s Church in Happisburgh, England. According to local planning documents, under current management plans the church is likely to be lost to erosion by the year 2105. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI St. Mary’s Church in Happisburgh, England. According to local planning documents, under current management plans the church is likely to be lost to erosion by the year 2105.

So for long stretches of the coast, government policy dictates that coasts be allowed to erode, either unabated, or managed in a way that allows local communities time to adapt — a policy that’s called “managed realignment.”

“We help our partners to work with nature to address coastal change, such as through managed realignment of the coastline and creation of vital coastal habitat,” says Andrew Sissons, deputy director for flood and coastal risk management at the Environment Agency.

Those managed realignment plans aim to be more sustainable in the long-term and often include removing existing defenses and flooding coastal land to create natural buffer areas like salt marshes, mudflats, or in the case of coastal erosion, allowing cliffs to erode to a more sustainable point inland.

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And, just like the mythical Atlantis, it may sink into the sea and become an underwater world. Simon Donner, a climate scientist at the University of British Columbia who has been visiting South Tarawa since A boy builds a small sand embankment on a beach next to his home in the village of Taborio.

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A sign in historic Happisburgh: The historic center of Happisburgh, England, on the Norfolk coast. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI The historic center of Happisburgh, England, on the Norfolk coast.

Until recently, the policy in Happisburgh was to hold the existing line. But new sea defenses for the village didn’t meet the cost-benefit analyses required for federal funds, so Happisburgh’s collapsed defenses were never substantially replaced.

“There is no way that a rural community can get any substantial help with sea defense,” says Stockton, who spent years working on coastal erosion issues in local government.

In 2012 after years of controversy, the local district council and the UK Environment Agency adopted a policy of managed realignment for Happisburgh.

The district council has been able to raise funds for short-term measures to attempt to slow erosion and adapt to it, including placing rocks on the beach and re-building a parking lot and public bathrooms near the beach access. But in the long-term, many residents will simply be expected to move off the coastline.

Darcy Bayless on the Happisburgh cliffs: Darcy Bayless, 15, standing along the cliff near her home in Happisburgh, England. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI Darcy Bayless, 15, standing along the cliff near her home in Happisburgh, England.

The government determined it would be technically difficult to build new permanent defenses, and although an estimated 20 to 35 homes and businesses would be lost by 2105, “these are not sufficient to economically justify building new defenses.”

A home isn’t just a house, it’s full of memories

The Baylesses understand that it’s not practical to protect the entire British coastline from erosion. But for families like them, this issue isn’t just a matter of government policy, fiscal responsibility, and rebuilding natural habitats. It’s the difference between preserving their home and eventually losing it.

“Sometimes I do feel like they [policy makers] don’t care,” says Darcy Bayless. “So much of my childhood’s already disappeared on the cliffs.”

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That includes the village’s lifeboat station, one of the first places Darcy was allowed to walk alone as a kid. More places will follow. Including, eventually, her house.

“It’s kind of upsetting to know that all of this will be gone by the time that I get anywhere close to having a family of my own,” says Darcy. “Where we’re sitting right now won’t be here.”

That’s especially troubling to Darcy, because her father died suddenly of an aneurysm in their home two years ago. And unless coastal protection policy changes, the 15th-century church, where his funeral was held, is also likely to disappear within her lifetime.

She worries that eventually, she won’t have many places to look when trying to remember her father. But she still wants to leave Happisburgh when she finishes school next spring.

“The sooner I get out of here, the sooner I don’t have to worry as much about the danger of … the cliffs,” Darcy says. “Because at the rate it’s going, I could wake up one morning and I’d be on the edge of the cliff.”

Darcy’s mom Nicola has the opposite instinct. “My husband died here,” she says, “so I’ll stay here till the end.”

The UK government doesn’t offer buyouts to homeowners like Nicola, though money is available to help them demolish their homes before they fall off the cliffs.

Bayless plans to move inland in Happisburgh when the local government tells her it’s time.

Exposed water pipes at a clifftop caravan park: Water pipes exposed by coastal erosion at a vacation trailer park in Happisburgh, England. The trailers will start to be relocated inland in the fall of 2018. © Credit: Carolyn Beeler/PRI Water pipes exposed by coastal erosion at a vacation trailer park in Happisburgh, England. The trailers will start to be relocated inland in the fall of 2018.

But she’s never regretted moving her family to this seaside village when Darcy was a baby, and raising her and her 10-year-old sister Violet here.

“I wanted my children to be able to walk down [the street] and go ‘morning’ and have someone say ‘morning’ back,” explains Nicola. “And that’s what it’s like here.”

Her house may disappear, she says, but the memories of picnics on the beach and happy times with her husband will remain.

“I would not swap any of the memories I’ve had in this house, or in this village, for anything,” Nicola remarks.

The village’s historic core at risk

Clive Stockton estimates he has 25 to 30 years left in business at the Hill House Inn before the cliffs reach the back door of his business, which is listed in the national register as a 17th-century building.

“A lifetime’s work invested in a property that is [historically] listed, so theoretically [it] should be defended,” Stockton says. “But it doesn’t work like that.”

A trailer park and campground that sits between Stockton’s property and the cliffs is being relocated inland starting this fall. It would be prohibitively expensive to do the same with the inn. So Stockton, the Inn’s landlord and managing director, says the property itself isn’t worth much anymore.

“But it’s still a successful business, and we’ve got 25 or 30 years to make some money out of it. So that’s what we’ve accepted,” says Stockton.

He and his wife have expanded the business, adding a coffee shop and brewery named after a Sherlock Holmes mystery that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle reportedly wrote while staying at the inn in the early 1900s.

“We’re just determined to make the most of it while it’s still here,” says Stockton.

The inn may outlive Stockton, who’s 69, as will most of the buildings in town which sit farther inland. But the village’s historic core is close to the coast.

“One the pub [and] the church go, then there is a school, there are two small shops and a post office. And that’s it,” explains Stockton. “So Happisburgh will cease to be the lively and active community that it is.”

Japanese engineer builds giant robot to realise 'Gundam' dream .
LW-Mononofu is an 8.5-metre (28-feet) tall, two-legged robot weighing in at more than 7 tonnes. It contains a cockpit with monitors and levers for the pilot to control the robot's arms and legs.Japanese engineer Masaaki Nagumo had always dreamed of suiting up as a robot from "Mobile Suit Gundam", his favourite animation series growing up.

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