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The SMP Review has been undertaken by consultants

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Our Shoreline

SMP Subcell 5F

SMP sediment cells of England & Wales (click to enlarge)

SMPs divide the 6,000 mile shoreline of England & Wales into a series of cells and sub cells defined by coastal type and processes such as the movement of beach and seabed sediment (sand, shingle, etc) within and between them.

  • The SMP sediment cells of England & Wales are illustrated on the map right (click to enlarge it)

For the purposes of the SMP the shoreline from Durlston Head to Hurst Spit is known as Subcell 5F, and SMP2 divides subcell 5F into four 'Policy Development Zones' (PDZs).  PDZs are in turn divided into 'Management Areas' (MAs) and MAs into 'Policy Units' (PUs).

PDZs are only used in the procedure of developing policy.  Management Areas and Policy Units are used for the final definition of the policies and the management of the coast.

This way of looking at the coast differs from SMP1 which divided the cost into eight 'Process Units', sub-divided into Policy Units.

The following pages describe SMP1 Process Units, but their features and issues remain the same, of course:

Durlston Bay
Studland Bay
Poole Harbour
Poole Bay
Christchurch Harbour
Christchurch Bay
Hurst Spit
Swanage Bay

SMP2 - four PDZs

SMP1 -  eight Process Units


Sediment Transport (click to enlarge)

Sediment transport, Poole & Christchurch Bays

Map courtesy of SCOPAC

The map, left, illustrates the movement of beach material (sand and gravels) along our shoreline, driven by wave energy and direction.  This process is known as sediment transport, or longshore drift.

Sediment moves from west to east along most of the Dorset coast, but prolonged periods of east or southeast winds can reverse this trend.

By interrupting longshore movement, sediment can be contained on a beach to provide not only an improved recreational facility, but an effective natural coastal defence.  Groynes are the most commonly used method, but interruption of sediment movement along any coast can cause serious problems downdrift through sediment 'starvation', and the potential for increased erosion.


For further information about coastal processes visit the Dorset Coast Digital Archive website.


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2007-2011 Poole & Christchurch Bays Coastal Group; last updated 05 August 2011

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