Four sand dunes and a funeral
Monday, August 16th, 2010
How will the coastline of Somerset look in twenty-five, fifty or indeed one hundred years time? The county is vulnerable to coastal flooding, with a great tract of the Somerset Levels protected by a narrow range of sand dunes at Berrow and Brean. The combination of a high spring tide and a low pressure system coming in from the west could raise the tide by another half metre and then the dunes would be under severe pressure. Researching for a film about coastal change in Somerset, I studied the dunes with a county councillor who showed me how the dunes have grown in the past fifty years and where the weak points are. New sand dunes have appeared held together by buckthorn, shrubs and marram grass. Behind them lies a vast city of static caravans, the main west coast railway line, the M5 and the Somerset Levels. Driving back we got talking about his work as a county councillor. ‘When I was elected I was told that Councillors got very little thanks for the work they did’ And then he laughed ‘But they said I’d be guaranteed a really good funeral’. Having once stood for our local town council in Glastonbury I know how much energy it takes just to stand for election, let alone serve at a county level, so I sincerely thanked him as he got out of the car!