The rate of erosion is nothing short of astounding at Skipsea and each visit I make, I leave shocked and in awe of nature's power. Seventy years ago this coastal lane (just off Hornsea Road - see google maps, search Skipsea, Hornsea Road or try this link (thank you Duncan)) was an enviable location with magnificent sea views overlooking sandy beaches. Over the years, as the weather has eroded the cliff, the once desirable holiday retreats have either fallen in to the sea or the owners have resolutely reassembled them further back on their diminishing plots. Personally I am fascinated by this lane which exudes an industrious milieu of human ingenuity, resilience, resourcefulness and fierce stubborness.
Holiday homes is perhaps misleading as a definition of their latter-day existence, but equally its nickname of 'shanty town' is a little unnecessarily harsh. There is clear evidence that residents improve, recycle and make use of cheap or waste materials, but squatters or impoverished they are not. Amongst them, was an artist in residence, Safforn Waghorn, she exhibited 'Tides of R-evolution' by way of a celebration of the sixty year cliff-top community. No further justification than the location itself is needed to appreciate why the residents have persevered despite its precariousness.
I strangely adore the charm of this spot. I have been visiting since October 2008 so have only visited it for a short time and sadly only in its demise. Within that time the existing line of 'homes' that were standing precariously 'on the edge' have disappeared. Within just over two years nigh on ten or more metres of the coast has been lost (they say on average it is a metre a year whatever that means). It is the fastest eroding coastline in Europe but this past two years has been phenomenal even given its reductive history. This time, the sea, the frost, the rain and indeed the council have not only taken the land where the houses were, but also the road is now being nibbled away. It is no longer stable for cars. This photo was taken in October 2008. The coast lies to the left of this hut.
As the land is eroding, residents have literally reassembled their dwellings further back or chopped them up if part of the building had collapsed in to the sea. I recall vividly speaking to one resident who lived there at the time, saying he left his car running on particularly stormy nights!! I have been quite interested in time lapse photography of Cliff Road, however, given the nature of the land, to photograph from the same spots each time has been impossible. However, the fence line on the right and the dead tree are reference points in the picture above and below. The photo below was taken last week.
I don't normally photograph black and white, but somehow because this is an historical record, I prefer the monochrome aesthetic. The following two pictures show a different perspective, again, both taken at roughly the same spot two years apart.
I am totally fascinated by this place and feel quite sad that its existence is almost gone. It has so much character and life, such organic and 'clumsy' development is so rarely seen or allowed on our shores. This particular place and my photographic record of it is sadly drawing to a close, although I know I won't be able to resist going back.
Following Eileen's observant eye (thank you), it appears this spot was used in filming 'South Riding' currently on BBC 1. This is the tram below that had to be moved by a crane after a violent storm. Below is the road to the left of which the tram used to reside until no less than 18 months ago!! Check out this link here.