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Letter: What really led to the Hurst Castle wall collapse?

SIR – Am I alone in thinking that the collapse of part of the east wing of Hurst Castle was predictably inevitable?

The simple cause may be described as a storm causing the loss of support to the castle foundations from the removal/erosion of the surrounding shingle. But what led to this sorry tale?

My understanding of Hurst Spit is that shingle is carried along the spit by longshore drift. The general progression is from west to east. Shingle from Highcliffe will progressively be moved towards Hurst Spit. At the toe of Hurst Spit some shingle will be carried away by the tides.

If the tides are carrying away shingle at the toe, but anything up-stream in the longshore drift is preventing shingle migrating the way that it should, then eventually the toe of the Spit will disappear.

Has the deposition of rocks, blocks of brickwork and groynes in the intertidal margin to the west end of the castle been the cause of shingle not migrating for the last few yards to the toe of the spit?

A storm may have been the final event that led to the collapse, but to blame a storm alone would be an abrogation the responsibility of those people and organisations who have failed in their duties.

If further erosion of Hurst Spit is permitted, by the absence of any plan or will to prevent it, how then will the character of the western Solent change?

David Linsell,


Main picture: Zack Maynard/408 Photography

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