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Spurn Head Spit Case Study


Spits are also created by deposition. A spit is an extended stretch of beach material that projects out to sea and is joined to the mainland at one end.

Spits are formed where the prevailing wind blows at an angle to the coastline, resulting in longshore drift. An example of a spit is Spurn Head, found along the Holderness coast in Humberside.

The development of Spurn Head

  1. Longshore drift [longshore drift: A tide or current that flows along the coast, taking material with it. ] moves material along the coastline.
  2. A spit forms when the material is deposited.
  3. Over time, the spit grows and develops a hook if wind direction changes further out.
  4. Waves cannot get past a spit, which creates a sheltered area where silt is deposited and mud flats or salt marshes form.

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The area known as Spurn forms the southern extremity of the Holderness coast and includes the unique feature of Spurn Point, a sand and shingle spit 5.5km long, reaching across the mouth of the Humber.


Spurn is made up of the material which has been transported along the Holderness Coast. This includes sand, sediment and shingle.

Coastal Features

Spurn Point is an example of a feature geographers call a spit.

(This is an aerial photograph of Spurn Head. It has been kindly donated by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust . Copyright is owned by the Trust)

The spit forms a sweeping curve which continues the line of the coast. The sand which forms the spit has been transported along the Holderness Coast by longshore drift. The energy in the waves transporting the material reduces where the North Sea meets the Humber Estuary. As a result the material is deposited. This process is known as deposition.

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