Burningham, H., French, J.R., 2014. Travelling forelands: complexities in drift and migration patterns. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70, pp. 102–108, ISSN 0749-0208.
Cuspate forelands have been described from a range of shorelines around the world, but in the majority of cases, the foreland maintains a constant position relative to the neighbouring shoreline. Here, we describe the contemporary geomorphology and historical evolution of a small cuspate foreland on the Suffolk coast, UK, which has been migrating northward for several centuries. Benacre Ness, a mixed sand and gravel sedimentary accumulation, is currently located at Kessingland, 5 km to the north of Benacre, from which it gained its name when adjacent to it in the 19th century. The foreland was previously called Covehithe Ness, having been adjacent to Covehithe (3 km south of Benacre) early in the 19th century. Previous sediment transport experiments and modelling studies have demonstrated a net southerly transport direction on this coastline, yet the foreland has continued to migrate northward over several centuries. Local reversals in sediment transport direction and rates are likely responsible for the northward migration of the foreland, but substantial changes in behaviour over the last 400 years suggest a close relationship between foreland dynamics and coastal configuration.