Articles

The Cote D’Argent, France, July 2010

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 by cubsur51

There have been a lot of cloudy and rainy days here in the Medoc. These pictures were taken on such a day. There is a long, long beach stretching all the way from the very tip of the Medoc peninsular at le Verdon all the way to Cap Ferret, well over 50 miles.
 
The sea is very shallow. When the tide goes out, a vast area of sand is exposed. On a rainy day it presents a very bleak picture.
 
My pictures were taken at a section of the beach called Le Gurp, a few miles south of the resort village of Soulac sur Mer.
 
The whole area is littered with the remains of bunkers and blockhouses built in the 1940’s by the occupying German forces as part of the so-called Atlantic Wall.
 
When these were built, they stood atop the sand dunes well above sea level. In the 70 years or so since, the sea has battered the sandy cliffs resulting in about 60 – 70 metres erosion. Now many of the structures are partially or wholly submerged at high tide.
 
The erosion of the sand cliffs is a big problem. Articles in local newspapers this week spoke about the situation of a group of residents in one apartment block which sits right above the beach. As one resident said, "When I bought my place ten years ago, it was 100 metres from the sea. Now it is 22!"
 
It was reported that 15 metres of cliff were lost in a single stormy night in February 2010. A temporary solution is being put in place for those people but the gloomy conclusion is that, within 50 years, the sea will break through in places and change the landscape rather dramatically. Behind the dunes sits an area of pine forest and beyond that reclaimed marsh, barely above sea level.
 
Some parts of the cliff have a distinct layer of charcoal, relic of a forest fire in times past. This is sometimes pillaged, although it does need drying out. There is also a deep layer of a very sticky grey/blue clay which holidaying children find greatly amusing. Not so their parents when they emerge absolutely covered in the stuff.
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