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A Visitors Guide to Dawlish Warren

This is the final homework for the Coastal Zone unit.

Your task is to create a visitor’s guide to Dawlish Warren. 

The aim is to make sure that you can describe the habitats of Dawlish Warren and the plants and animals that live there. You also need to be able to explain how  Dawlish Warren is conserved and managed sustainably.

I have included links to various information sources. Here is a template for you to download and use if you wish. 


The map you drew in the lesson will be useful. You could label a Google Maps screenshot with information about the different habitats at Dawlish Warren.

Look at these 360 panoramas to see what Dawlish Warren looks like. You can make screenshots to use in your work.

The beach

The sand dunes

The salt marsh and mud flats

Plants and animals of Dawlish Warren:
Iink 1

Link 2

Information leaflets:

Dog walking information

Information about management issues

Guide for visitors

Management strategies:

Photo gallery of some management strategies




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Homework 13: Using a GIS (Geographic Information System)

A GIS can be thought of as a digital base map over which layers of data can be displayed. GIS offers powerful ways for geographers to anlyze spatial data and make decisons. Many jobs rely on GIS technology; one reason why geography graduates are very employable. I’d like you to use the MAGIC GIS to find out a little more about Dawlish Warren as part of preparation for your coursework project.


Before you start, be prepared for your computer to run slowly as you will be interacting with an enormous database buried deep in some high security government bunker.

Follow this link to the MAGIC map of Dawlish Warren

After a while you should be looking at a map of Dawlish Warren. The map will be complicated at first, so here are the basic tools you need to use:

To move the map (panning) click this symbol, and then drag the map


To change the scale, click the symbol, then click again on the map to zoom in and out on the location you’ve selected.


Now, lets make sense of the map data. At the moment all the available information is being displayed. Click this button to see all the data layers…


This box will appear. Try turning all the layers off apart from Sites of Special Scientific Interest…


Nothing will happen until you click this button!


If the map slows down or you want to go back to the map with all the layers active, click this button.


Reload the map or click here if you see this message for too long. While it is common for there to be delays when using GIS, this message also means that data is being collected, so be patient.


Finally, the map tools will let you print off maps, save screen shots, measure distances and a lot more. Just mouse-over the different symbols to find out what each one does.


Now it’s time to get mapping…

5 minute GIS Homework task:

1) Create a map that shows the extent of the tourist “honeypot” at Dawlish Warren. This the area outside the Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

2) Create a map that shows sand dunes and mudflats of the whole Exe estuary and the location of Dawlish Warren.

Print these  maps off if possible. Don’t upload to your Posterous. If you have problems with MAGIC the FAQ may help.

3) Use Where’s The Path? to look at different maps and photos of Dawlish Warren. Follow this link. WTP isn’t a real GIS, but it great for visualizing the Dawlish Warren area. It is best to use WTP in the morning, because it is limited in how many OS maps it can show in one day.

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Homework 10: Managed Realignment or Hold the line?

This is a Voicethread homework. Watch the video and decide whether, as an imaginary local resident, you support a coastal management policy of “managed realignment” or “hold the line.”

Your response should include a mention of your age and job (if you have one) along with your point of view and reasons. It is perfectly fine to disagree with others 🙂

The aim of the homework task is to make sure that you are familiar with all sides of the arguments for different strategies of coping with sea level rise. 

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Homework 9: How did Dawlish Warren form? (8 marks)

Your homework is to answer the following question:

How did the spit at Dawlish Warren form? (8 marks)

The homework isn’t finished until you have assessed your partner’s work.

Mark scheme:

Level 1: Basic 1-3 marks
Knowledge of basic information about spits
Simple understanding of long shore drift
A limited range of geographical words
Limited evidence of sentence structure and frequent spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. 

Level 2: Clear 4 – 6 marks
Knowledge of accurate information about spits
Clear understanding of longshore drift
Answer uses correct terms and sentences are linked together
Some spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Level 3: Detailed 7-8 marks
Knowledge of accurate information about Dawlish Warren
Detailed understanding of spit formation and longshore drift.
Uses a range of specialist terms
Well structured response with effective use of sentences and few spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Remember – it’s called a Spit!

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Explaining the formation of beaches and spits

I think this video could be really helpful to some of you. The narrator shows how to structure an answer to explain the formation of beaches, BUT he doesn’t use the GCSE level terminology of weathering, mass movement and erosion that you have been taught. Terms like freeze thaw, falling, and attrition would improve his explanation. He doesn’t mention the role of waves, or the shape of the coastline. Could you do better?

The second video clip looks at the processes of deposition and transport that result in the formation of a spit.

Finally, this is a brilliant flash animation of the formation of a spit. Dawlish Warren could be a good example:

(source: Wycombe High School original author unknown)

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Cliffhanger: Film about erosion at Happisburgh, Norfolk

Here’s a link to the film we watched in the lesson.

This is a great case study for coastal erosion. The film illustrates how the Norfolk coastline is retreating as waves erode the base of the cliffs. Mass movement process of slumping and flowing are acting on the soft rocks. The situation is made worse because the hard sea defences are no longer being maintained by the Council. Watch the BBC clip below:

People are being affected in a number of ways. In 2005 homeowners could neither insure, nor sell their property and no compensation was available when buildings were lost. Some people could be left destitute as their homes and businesses disappeared, along with memories and community heritage. Happisburgh is important to archeologists as the oldest known site of human occupation in the UK; flint tools dating from 800,000 BP have been discovered. People are campaigning for the Government to re-build the sea defences, but their efforts seem to be in vain.


Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 04 November 2006 licensed under Creative Commons

There are several questions to think about. Is erosion more rapid in Happisburgh because of the defences built by other communities further along the coast. Happisburgh has many listed buildings and a church. Shouldn’t these be protected? How much land will be lost before the Government does act? Or is it just too expensive in the long term to maintain hard defences along this stretch of coastline? Is a policy of managed retreat sustainable? The film is certainly one sided – the Coastal Concern Action Group website is here

The latest news is that the Government have offered some compensation to peoiple who have lost their property. Is this enough?

We will lean more about sea defences and coastal management later in the course.