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Adur Valley News Bulletin

Link to the Shoreham-by-Sea HomepageAdur Torpedo

This is the first published Electronic Newspaper for 
Shoreham-by-Sea and District, West Sussex, England

25 November (3) 1999 : Volume 1  Issue 6
    News & Events

    Building work is still continuing on inner western arm of the harbour entrance adjacent to the Training Wall (next to the Old Fort rock pools) as well as on the new gas-fired power station for Shoreham Harbour

    Wildlife Reports 
    22 November 1999
    Mussels on Southwick Beach have been pronounced unfit for human consumption (nobody was daft enough to eat them - there is a nearby long outfall sewage outlet with primary treatment only) because of contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the old coal gas works (probably), closed over 20 years ago.
    I would not be surprised if they tested for toluene, they would discover this cancer- inducing agent as well. 
    In view of the numerous oil spills in the harbour and the out-flow pipe that pumps the canal water into the sea, I would not guess at the origin of PAHs from the Gas Works, but I would put the first guess of the contamination from recent oil spills. The possibility of oil taint is the reason that the local mussels are disdained.
    The upshot is that the beach will now be littered with more warning signs. there are already dangerous rocks, underwater obstructions, sea water quality, surf-boarding restrictions etc. So if you step on a Weever! (common here in some years) ...
    The Marine Conservation Society Clean Beach Scheme voted Southwick beach as the most debris-strewn beach in the whole of Britain. It certainly receives an assorted collection of French fishing gear, and refuse lobbed overboard from ships leaving the harbour, as well as overflowing litter bins* from local beach goers (there is a steady stream of locals going over the lock gates to the beach throughout the summer). Because it is not an established tourist beach, responsibility for cleaning it up was not defined.
    * Excellent litter facilities are now available. 

    21 November 1999
    Regular all-season rockpoolers will realise that on the Sussex coast the mobile inhabitants of the shore, small fish, crabs, prawns etc. move offshore into deeper water. Usually, the is movement is very sudden, on the last low spring in September there will still be abundant shore life, but by the first low spring tide of October, all the life will have disappeared and there will be nothing at all of note under the rocks. The sudden onset of cold weather is probably the reason.
    So it was after some bitter chill winds, that I trudged down to Kingston beach, to collect a few mussels, and apart from the 30 plus Black-headed Gulls and four Oystercatchers scavenging on the edge of the calm sea, I had not expected anything of note. 
    However, beneath the rocks strewn amongst the mussel beds, first year Blennies, only 15 - 20 mm, and similarly-sized Rock Gobies sheltered beneath the flint cobble-sized rocks. 


    Not in itself particularly unusual for this beach, but together with small Hermit Crabs, in Netted Dogwhelk shells, and small Hairy Crabs, and the first Dogwhelk I had seen since 1982, the cumulative effect was a bit of surprise of the frequency of life on the beach. Oysters, cockles, carpet shells, Grey Topshells accompanied the abundant mussels and winkles. Limpets were very common. Some of the chalk had broken up and a few empty shells of the Piddock, Barnea candida, lay scattered around.

    20 November 1999
    With a sharp north-easterly, the wind chill felt near freezing. Black-headed Gulls are omnipresent throughout the year on the River Adur mud and on the Middle Road playing fields, where one out of 20 gulls was the less commonly seen, and slightly larger,  Common Gull. Black-headed Gulls have red-orange legs and the Common Gulls have grey-green legs. 

    4 November 1999
    Cormorants, a Little Egret and a Red-breasted Merganser, are all three fish-eating birds that could be seen in the River Adur opposite Ropetackle in the afternoon when the tide was low. 

    Photograph  by Andy Horton

    The Little Egret foraged in the shallow pools between the mussel beds with a solitary Redshank. The Cormorants were fishing, but the Red-breasted Merganser disdained such activity, and just stood at the edge ot the tidal stream and watched the river flow by. 
    On Kingston Beach, a single Oystercatcher probed on the edge of the mussels beds, for worms etc. 
    On Brooklands Boating Lake a Little Grebe (Dabchick) was seen swimming and diving under the water. (June Brown).

    Birds (BMLSS)

    Poetry Extract

    Rolling Downs and Combes

    Albion, the white rock before the South Saxons,
    Rendzina, chalkhill blue, piddock and the wayfaring tree,
    Echinocorys, or micraster the shepherd's crown,
    Santonian symbol of the south down

    October storms destroying the beech grove,
    Tarmac on the shepherd's pass,
    Crop spraying, or the lark's song,
    Plough machine, or sheep and fescue grass.


    Word of the Month

    conservation  | knsve()n |  n. LME. [(O)Fr., or L conservatio(n-), f. conservat- pa. ppl stem of conservare: see CONSERVE v., -ATION.] 1 The action of keeping from harm, decay, loss, or waste; careful preservation. LME. b The preservation of existing conditions, institutions, rights, etc. LME. c The preservation of the environment, esp. of natural resources. E20. 2 Official charge and care of rivers, sewers, forests, etc.; conservancy. L15. 3 Physics. (A principle stating) the invariance of the total quantity of energy (or any of certain other physical properties) possessed by a system of bodies not subject to external action. M19. 4 The preserving of fruit etc. L19. 
    3 conservation of energy, conservation of mass, conservation of momentum, etc. 
    Comb.: conservation area an area containing noteworthy buildings etc. which is specially protected by law from undesirable changes; conservation law: stating the conservation (sense 3) of a particular physical property (under some or all circumstances or in certain interactions). 
    conservational a. M19. conservationist n. a proponent or advocate of (esp. environmental) conservation L19. 

    Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia
    Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc. All rights reserved.

    Historical Snippets

    1703 A great storm shattered the town of Shoreham. This major storm of 26 November caused destruction on the English Channel coast of England killing over 8000 people.

    1724 In just over 100 years the longshore drift had deflected the harbour entrance 3 miles to the east of New Shoreham.

    Below is a famous reconstructed map of what Shoreham is meant to have looked like before the sea wreaked such destruction. The image is larger than is shown on this hypertext file.

    Reconstructed map, circa AD 1350.

    Another hypothetical reconstruction (based on soil samples) is at the following site: 
    Link to the Old River Adur Course in Medieval Times

    One way the longshore drift could have been prevented for a long time, would be if an island or sand bank was present offshore.  AH (conjecture).

    1781 The wooden bridge over the River Adur at Old Shoreham was built, replacing a ferry. The bridge was rebuilt to a similar design in 1916 and up until 1971 was the main A27 road for all traffic passing through Shoreham. The bridge is in continual use by pedestrians and cyclists throughout the day. 

    Brief History of Shoreham-by-Sea

Compiled on Netscape Composer, part of Netscape Communicator 4.6
Extent the tide recedes at low neaps. The tide goes out further on the low springs that occur at dusk and dawn.Sea Defences made of syenite rock from NorwayThe Egret was spotted with a small Bass in its mouth