West, Ian, M. 2017. Geology of Calshot Spit and Stanswood Bay, Solent and Southampton Water, Hampshire. http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~imw/Calshot-Spit-Stanwood-Bay.htm. By Ian West. Version: 24th August 2017. [Stanswood Bay, Eagle Cliff and Calshot Spit.]
Calshot Spit and Stanswood Bay,  Geology of the Wessex Coast
Ian West,
Romsey, Hampshire

and:
School of Ocean and Earth Science ,
Southampton University,
Webpage hosted by courtesy of Information Systems Services, Southampton University

|Home and Contents |Field Guide Maps and Introduction | Erratics of the Wessex Coast.| | Hurst Castle Spit| | Solent Introduction| | Solent Bibliography - General | Solent Bibliography - Topics | Fawley Power Station Geology |The Geology of the Beaulieu River Estuary |The Geology of Lepe Beach |New Forest Geology |New Forest Geology Bibliography | [See also: Calshot Activities Centre.]

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A view of Calshot Spit from a ship

See also the webpages on nearby locations:
Geology of Fawley Power Station,
Lepe Beach - Geology,
The Geology of the Beaulieu River Estuary
Chilling Cliff, Brownwich Cliff and Hill Head (opposite shore to Calshot)
Geology of Lepe Beach
Solent - General Introduction

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CONTENTS OF THE CALSHOT SPIT - STANSWOOD BAY WEBPAGE

Including Eagle Cliff, the coast at Eaglehurst and Calshot Spit, all at the southeastern end of Southampton Water.

1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1a. Introduction - Access.
1b. Introduction - Safety and Risk Assessment
1c. Introduction - Maps
1d. Introduction - Aerial Photgraphs
1e. Introduction,- Arrival and Car Parking

2. HISTORY OF CALSHOT SPIT

2a. HISTORY - General

2b. HISTORY - Recent

3. LOCATIONS AT AND AROUND CALSHOT SPIT
(- Details follow).

3. LOCATION - CALSHOT CASTLE
4. LOCATION - AROUND CASTLE AND HANGERS
5. LOCATION - ARM OF THE SHINGLE SPIT
5a. LOCATION - CALSHOT-SPIT - Subsurface Geology
6. LOCATION - ADJACENT SALTMARSHES
7. LOCATION - EAGLE CLIFF
7a Eagle Cliff - General.
7b Eagle Cliff, Luttrell's Tower
7c Eagle Cliff, Sarsen Stones
7d Eagle Cliff, Beach Pebbles
8. LOCATION - CLIFF NEAR BOURNE GAP
8a. Cliff Near Bourne Gap - Barton Sand and Pleistocene Gravel.
9. DISTANT LOCATIONS of the Solent around Calshot Spit
10. DEEP CHANNELS FOR SHIPS NEAR CALSHOT SPIT
10. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES

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1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION

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1. INTRODUCTION:

1a - Access
Calshot Spit is easily reached by driving southeast down the B3053 on the western side of Southampton Water past Fawley Oil Refinery and Fawley Power Station. There is some free parking at Hillhead (the landward end of the spit) and there is pay and display parking further to the northeast, at the beginning of the spit, about halfway down and at the Calshot Activites Centre at the end. There are toilets and a cafe and bar (open at times) within the activities center. Most of Calshot Spit is directly accessible on foot. Part of the beach to the southwest towards Eaglehurst is accessible. However a short distance beyond Luttrell's Tower there is a nature reserve with no public access. Unless permission is obtained, there is no direct access to the best cliff sections. They can be seen at a distance.

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1 - INTRODUCTION (CONTIN):

1b - Safety and Risk Assessment
Except in unusually stormy weather conditions this is not, in general, a locality of high risk to anyone studying geology or geomorphology. However, there are some potential hazards. Obviously be very cautious if visiting in extreme weather conditions. Activities taking place at the sport centre in the old hanger on Calshot Spit are not in any way connected with this website or have any responsibily connection with this website. Calshot Castle is a specific, separate location for which you pay a fee to visit, and this website is not connected to this and does not have any responsibility regarding it. There might be some small risk of falling debris from the low cliffs in places. However, there are no high, vertical cliffs here, so that this is not a major problem. Anyone venturing into the adjacent marshes could become very quickly stuck in soft mud. This is a real risk. Once stuck in the mud, it would be very difficult to get out. There is a strong current at times in the sea at the end of the spit. Entering the sea should only be in safe localities, well away from the distal areas with high current velocities and with shipping. This is just common-sense.
Beachhut are not in any way connected to this website except as convenient level markers. In many cases the huts are situated at almost exactly the level of the top of a storm beach and not significantly higher than the rare limit of extreme storm wave activity. The are only referred to regarding their relationship to changing beach levels (they are useful markers) and the observation than some or many may not be above the limit of future extreme storm activity (of course, the beach and these should be strictly avoided during a hurricane).
Please respect private property. To the southwest is the major Cadland Estate and most of this is private and not accessible to the public. There is a barrier at a short distance southwest from Calshot Spit. You cannot walk on the shore from Calshot to Lepe Beach. However, a short drive round the lanes will take you to Lepe Beach where there are car parks and easy access to the shore.

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1 - INTRODUCTION (CONTIN):

1c - Maps

A 1740 map of Beaulieu River estuary, Hampshire, and adjacent New Forest and Solent areas

An old topographic map, 1936 with roads updated to 1947, of the Fawley and Calshot area, Solent Estuaries, southern England

The 1934 topographic map of Lepe Beach and Calshot Spit, Hampshire, with roads updated to 1947

An old topographic map, 1936 with roads updated to 1947, of the Fawley and Calshot area, Solent Estuaries, southern England

Part of a chart from 1955 showing the future site of the Fawley Power Station, and the location of Calshot Spit, Southampton Water, Solent Estuaries, southern England

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1c Introduction - Aerial Photographs
1 - INTRODUCTION (CONTIN):

1d - Aerial Photographs

The end of Calshot Spit, Solent, Hampshire, England, shown in an aerial photograph of the 2nd June 2007, courtesy of the Channel Coastal Observatory, and with erosion of saltmarshes visible

Calshot Spit, Southampton Water, southern England, aerial photograph courtesy of the Channel Coastal Observatory, a recurved shingle spit

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1. INTRODUCTION:

1d - Arrival

A spacious and empty car park at the landward end of Calshot Spit

Car parking is usually easy at the landward end of Calshot Spit, and it is rarely much of a problem in other parts. The car park at the end of the spit at the old RAF base is quite large (the area was presumably used for parking seaplanes). The car parks are based on shingle. That on the outer, southeast side is coarse beach gravel. There is fine gravel on northeast, marsh side is finer. It seems to be replaced in part from time to time, from an artificial gravel tip near the life-boat house.

The narrow road down Calshot Spit to Calshot Castle and the sporting facilities in the hanger, seen from the landward end, car park area

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2a. HISTORY OF CALSHOT SPIT - GEOMORPHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Calshot Castle is important in terms of geomorphology because it is a marker point showing a coastal position from about 1540. It was built on the orders of King Henry VIII, using stone derived largely from Beaulieu Abbey which he had destroyed. The Bembridge Limestone, present in the castle, is probably of this origin. Calshot Castle can be compared to Hurst Castle on Hurst Spit as both were build at about the same date, and are broadly similar. Hurst Castle is not at the end of Hurst Spit now. The reason is that that spit has extended appreciable beyond it because there has been dramatic erosion in Christchurch Bay since 1540. Indeed, the original village of Hordle, above the original Hordle Cliff, has been destroyed by coastal retreat and a new village build further inland. There has been less coastal change in the Solent coast near Calshot Spit. The great 1703 hurricane added much shingle to the spit, this probably having come from the Stansore Point area, but did not change the position of the end of Calshot Spit much. What mainly happened was the northeast end was appreciably broadened, provinding the flat surface that was much later used for the aircraft hangers.

Clare and Fred Murley (1991) recorded (on p.24) the comments in 1695 of the traveller, Celia Fiennes. She wrote:

".. about 3 leagues off is Calshot Castle just out into the sea, which does encompass it all but a very little point of land called Horsey Beach that runs out into the New Forest by Bewly which was an Abbey in the Forrest, for the extent of the Forrest is large miles long: all round Calshot Castle on the beach itts as full of fine Cockle shells ["Cardium" or more strictly, Cerastoderma - now still common but perhaps not so abundant] so they heap them up all round the castle like a wall; ...."

The modern Cerastoderma shells are present in white, shell beaches, normally at the outer parts of salt marshes. They are best developed where there is little or no supply of flint shingle. They are easily seen on aerial photographs. Nowadays you will find these on the up-estuary side (northeast) of Calshot Spit, but I do not think that there is such abundance as to be able to heap them up round the castle. Old buried examples of such Cerastoderma shell beaches were found when the excavations were made for Fawley Power Station.

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2b. HISTORY OF CALSHOT SPIT - RECENT

History, Recent

The RAF Calshot Railway, a narrow gauge line from Eaglehurst Camp to Calshot Spit, 1919 to 1945, shown in an old photograph and with a modern photograph of the same location

The end of Calshot Spit was in the early part of the last century an RAF base used for various seaplane experiments. The most notable person who worked here was Lawrence of Arabia. He was just an ordinary, low-ranking aircraftsman who worked at this base.

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[3 LOCATIONS - SEPARATE SECTIONS FOLLOW]

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3. LOCATION - CALSHOT CASTLE

Calshot Castle, built for King Henry VIII in about 1540, is a good marker for showing the changes in Calshot Spit. The present spit is very much a feature, greatly modified by the hurricane of 1703 and probably not changed much in outline, since then. It is unlike Hurst Spit which formerly was growing, before various artificial coastal obstructions at Milford-on-Sea and Barton-on-Sea severely damaged it. Calshot Spit is not normally exposed to large sea waves and thus is much lower than Hurst Spit. The castles of the two spits are broadly similar. There has been minor retreat of the coast at Calshot Castle so that there is no high-tide shingle directly in front of it (the sea also just approaches the walls of Hurst Castle).

Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit, as seen from the sea. Spit

Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit, also showing the outer, sloping sea wall, mainly of Middle Purbeck stone and protecting part of Calshot Castle on Calshot Spit

Calshot Castle, built during the 1540s, at the end of Calshot Spit, Southampton Water - a view from the side, at dusk

Entrance across the moat to Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit, 2017

Type of display of historic photographs in the basement of Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit

At the top of Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit, built for King Henry VIII

Uncompacted-type of early-cemented, Middle Purbeck, biosparrudite limestone, used in the walls of Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit

Types of Middle Purbeck bioclastic limestones, in terms of compaction and diagenesis, an example from Bacon Hole, near Mupe Bay, Dorset, after El-Shahat and West, 1983

The blocks of limestone in Calshot Castle can be identified in some cases, but in others the surface conditions and the weathering does not make this an easy task. Most conspicuous and most easily identified is Purbeck Stone from the Middle Purbecks of Durlston Bay, or adjacent area, Swanage, Dorset.

Very obvious to the geological visitor is a very, early-cemented, biosparrudite from the Middle Purbecks of east Dorset (Durlston Bay to Lulworth Cove). Cross-sections of the bivalve Neomiodon are obvious. They are almost entirely uncompacted. Compare the limestone in the castle to the uncompacted, early-cemented type of Middle Purbeck limestone from Bacon Hole, shown above. It is not implied that the rock is from Bacon Hole, but it is this type of limestone from the area between Lulworth Cove and Durlston Bay, Swanage (a more likely source locality).

A notable absence in the blocks examined is Praeexogyra distorta (J. de C. Sowerby). This absence eliminates certain horizons, particularly those above the Cinder Bed [P.distorta is less common beneath].

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A further point regarding Purbeck Stone is that at Lepe Beach, not far away to the southwest, a dinosaur footprint in Purbeck Stone has been found on the low-tide beach [see Lepe Beach webpage]. This too, is probably in the uncompacted, early-cemented type of Middle Purbeck limestone. Blocks of Purbeck Marble (from the Upper Purbeck, or uppermost Durlston Formation) from Peveril Point, Durlston Bay, Swanage or nearby have also been found at Lepe Beach (see Lepe webpage).

Bembridge Limestone block in Calshot Castle, Calshot Spit, with some aragonitic shells preserved

Bembridge Limestone blocks can be recognised by the scattered gastropod shell remains found in shell moulds (holes). These shells seem to be still preserved as aragonite. This limestone is relatively soft. It is, of course, very near at hand, occurring just across the West Solent on the Isle of Wight.

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It should be noted that a complication regarding the stone at Calshot Castle is that it is largely reworked from the destruction of Beaulieu Abbey by King Henry the Eight, who ordered the building of the castle.

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4. LOCATION - AROUND THE CASTLE AND HANGERS (END OF THE SPIT)

The fine shingle beach at the northeast, or marsh, side of the end car park of Calshot Spit

The relatively new, recurved, northwest end of Calshot Spit, with  fine shingle and some Salicornia plants

The large parking area at the end of Calshot Spit, with the large and old RAF hangers, now used for various sporting and for boat purposes

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This distal end of Calshot Spit has been greatly altered above the shingle by human activity. Apart from the castle and a tower to control shipping, the huge RAF hangers are the main features of the end of the Spit. Around the margins of the altered area it is quite easy to access the shingle, particularly at low tide. Many people, especially young people come to visit the sporting facilities, including cycle racing, climbing and dry skiing in the big Sunderland Hanger. There is also a cafe in this building. Calshot Castle, built as one of a series of coastal protective castles for King Henry VIII, is a very different type of building. It has limestone rock walls of particular interest to geologists, and various features of historic interest. It has guns and it gives a good view of ships entering or leaving Southampton Water.

At two sites, one at Lawrence House, a brick building and the other at the Sports Hanger on Calshot Spit there are on display, large blocks of hard rock, probably quartzite. I do not know the origin of these, but they resemable sarsen stones, which occur commonly in the area. A sarsen stone is present now on the beach at Eagle Cliff and sarsen stones are washed out of the cliff on the opposite side of Southampton Water at Chilling and Brownwich Cliff.

See the websites:
Chilling Cliff, Brownwich Cliff and Hill Head (opposite shore to Calshot)

Erratics of the Wessex Coast.

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[add container ship photograph of 18th August]

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4a. LOCATION - ROCK DISPLAYS AT THE END OF CALSHOT SPIT

Near the end of Calshop Spit there are two displays of large rocks. These are angular or partially rounded, apparently of quartzite and they resemble sarsen stones.

Sarsen stones occur in the area, and elsewhere in this webpage there is reference to one at Eagle Cliff. They are more abundant in the Titchfield, Chilling and Browwich region across Southampton Water, and from time to time they are eroded out of the cliff there.
For more information go to:
Chilling and Brownwich Cliffs Webpage. [run down to the Sarsen Stones section]
In that area though the sarsen stone quite often contain root holes left from the former presence of plants. These do not seem obvious in the stones at Calshot Spit, which are now shown below.

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Rocks on display at Lawrence House, Calshot Spit, that might be sarsen stones from the nearby coast or, perhaps, old gravel pits

Large rocks on display adjacent to the entrance to the Activities Centre at Calshot Spit

A quartz-veined rock, perhaps a sarsen stone, on display adjacent to the Activities Centre  at Calshot Spit

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5. LOCATION - THE MAIN ARM OF THE SHINGLE SPIT

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The main arm of the shingle spit is a narrow shingle beach. On the marsh (northwestern side of this), a narrow road has been added to give access to the end of the spit, the former seaplane base, the big hangers and now the sports facilities, within one of these hangers. Some brick buildings are also relics of the former air force base.

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A view of Fawley Power Station from the road down Calshot Spit, 7th August 2017

From the narrow road down the shingle spit there is a view to the northwest of the Fawley Power Station (no longer in use - 2017).

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An older zigzag, timber groyne at the midway lcoation of Calshot Spit is showing the same rise in the top shingle bank, as at Eagle Cliff, near Eaglehurst

At the midway location (and small car park) on the arm of Calshot Spit there is, as at Eagle Cliff, obvious evidence of natural raising of the top, back beach and the partial covering of groynes. A southwest to northeast movement of shingle is also shown. It confirms the simple theory that in recent years the Bourne Gap area is eroding and supplying shingle, whereas, in contrast, and the general shingle drift that is taking place northeast of Bourne Gap is towards the end of Calshot Spit and the top of the beach at each site. In summary Bourne Gap is a retreating supply area and Calshot Spit is gaining shingle and rising in height. The only, at first sight, surprising aspect of this is the height rise. Although sea-level is rising and this is one factor, a more important one may be the occurrence of the 1 in 60 year (roughly) storm in 2014. That seemed quite a major storm but it was nothing like the 1 in 250 year storm of 1824 or the rare, great hurricane of 1703, that completely changed Calshot Spit. Hurst Spit is intermittantly washed flat (at least in the central) because its shingle supply has been cut off by artificial sea defences at Milford-on-Sea. It has not been permanently destroyed as yet, but the main shingle bank (beyond the larvikite rock armour) probably will be sooner or later. This will, of course, cause a major increase in coast erosion in the West Solent. This is a familiar story and does not further elaboration here. The consequences of this or related major events is an increase in shingle supply to Calshot Spit. It may be flooded but it is unlikely to loose much shingle; it will probably gain substantially. Erosion and losses might be expected at Stone Point and Stanshore Point Lepe. If a large shingle supply from there sweeps northeast it could go past Bourne Gap without causing too much loss of land and travel on to an enlarged Calshot Spit (which, of course, is the terminal spit and shingle-dumping area for the West Solent. Much of the West Solent coast will retreat and straighten in one or more great storm, the Beaulieu River mouth may or may not be closed by shingle (quite likely) and Calshot Spit will enlarge as the terminal shingle dumping ground.

(Solent - future. There is no suggestion here that the natural processes of reshaping and opening up the West Solent coasts are necessarily going to take place in the lifetimes of existing people; it could be in 250 years and the chances of it happening next winter are low. The English Channel or La Manche can be viewed in term of thousands of years is an expanding sea, at the moment in its second recent pause, but warming up again now. Of course matters may change and a Neolithic-type low sea level or still-stand happening again is only very unlikely and is not totally impossible.)

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5a. CALSHOT-SPIT - Subsurface Geology

Fawley Power Station and Calshot area - map

A location map for Calshot Spit, Fawley Power Station, Quaternary geology and the locations of cross-sections shown, Solent Estuaries, southern England

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Fig. 2 - Composite south-west-north-east section through the Quaternary deposits of Fawley, Hampshire, Southampton Water

A NW - SE section through the Holocene deposits of Calshot Spit, Solent Estuaries, southern England

The maps and cross-sections above come from a study by the present author, years back before the Fawley Power Station was built. There were deep excavations in soft mud, descending well below the Neolithic peat. It was not an easy place to work. There were huge cranes. The driver of one of these chased me around part of the site with the huge bucket swinging towards me and following as I waded in the mud of the site. Going into the pressurised tunnel required a doctor's examination first. Down under Southampton Water the main danger was that the workers were in a great hurry and you were in considerable danger of being run over by the tramway trucks. There were other risks. Sadly one worker was killed when a sealing door was not completely shut and he was blasted through the opening by the high pressure.

I was called in when there were geological problems. The cross-sections probably do not show a small fault in the Eocene strata, somewhere near the middle of the tunnel. Eocene faults are actually unusual in the region , but Southampton Water has a major fault beneath it in older strata, and there may have been minor re-activation in the Tertiary.

More specifically, geological study of the above diagrams suggests that Calshot Spit has been in approximately the same position for a very long time, perhaps since at least Neolithic times. This will be discussed further.

[further information on the geology will be added]

For more information go to the related webpage:

Geology of Fawley Power Station,

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6. LOCATION - ADJACENT SALTMARSHES

For Saltmarshes see also:
Fawley Power Station - geology.

See also:
The Geology of the Beaulieu River Estuary.

The deterioration of saltmarshes by frontal erosion, creek-widening and die-back of Spartina, in the vicinity of Fawley Power Station, as shown in an old aerial photograph, Solent Estuaries, southern England

The end of Calshot Spit, Solent, Hampshire, England, shown in a modern aerial photograph, courtesy of the Channel Coastal Observatory, and with erosion of saltmarshes visible

Calshot Spit as shown by GE for 2012, with the photograph taken at low tide

Details of saltmarsh erosion and of washover lobes of Cerastoderma shell debris, near Calshot Spit, Southampton Water, southern England, photo courtesy of the Channel Coastal Observatory

For more information on Solent saltmarshes go to:
The Geology of the Beaulieu River Estuary

and

Solent - Geology of Fawley Power Station

and

Solent - Lymington, Keyhaven and West Solent

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[EAGLE CLIFF HEADING TO BE ADDED?]

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7 EAGLE CLIFF (a former habitat of the Sea Eagle, or White-Tailed Eagle)

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7a - EAGLE CLIFF, STANSWOOD BAY - General

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The landward connection of the Calshot Spit shingle beach is to Eagle Cliff. It is now at a short stretch of beach huts. The cliff has degraded is not a steep eroding feature now. It is just an overgrown bank, at 45 degrees, and with many trees. There has been considerable shingle accumulation in the 1703 storm and probably since that date this has prevented significant cliff erosion here. Historic details of the steps down from Luttrell's Tower show that nothing much has happened here since about 1740 except the growth of trees on the old cliff. (The trees are probably the Holm Oak, Quercus ilex, an introduced Mediterranean tree that grows well on the mild, south coast of England.)

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View southwest along the gravel of Eagle Cliff from the Hill Head area of Calshot, Hampshire

Eagle Cliff, near Calshot Spit, the Solent, Hampshire, showing evidence of two-stage beach development

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Eagle Cliff and nearby Eaglehurst, were probably named after the former habitat here of a White-Tailed Eagle, or Sea Eagle. This huge eagle, which still survives on the Isle of Mull, ate fish and probably scavenged beaches in the local Solent estuaries. It was presumably here before the coast was changed by the 1703 hurricane, and before buildings such as Luttrell's Tower were constructed here.

See also:
By Derek Y. Yalden. Yalden, D. 2007. The Older History of the White-tailed Eagle in Britain. By Derek Y. Yalden.
This does not seem to mention the Sea Eagle of Eagle Cliff, Calshot, even though the eagle symbol is used at the present time by the Cadland Estate (at the southwestern end of Eagle Cliff). The name of the place Eaglehurst, on the land above the cliff, ties in the reference of the bird to an old name for a spit ("hurst", as in Hurst Spit). At the time the bird was hunting for fish here, Calshot Spit was a lesser, poorly-developed feature in mudflats and marshes. At the time, the West Solent shore, here, was probably a very quiet, remote coast at the seaward margin of the New Forest.

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An information sign at the access to the beach at the southwestern end of Calshot Spit, Hampshire, in 2017

There is a new notice board, placed there by the New Forest District Council at the path where it enters the beach, at the southwestern part of Calshot Spit. Nearby is an old metal sign from 1932, regarding the privacy of the Cadland Estate. This is a bird nature reserve, but now lacking any sea eagles.

An old notice board indicates an increase in height of the beach, since 1931, southwestern, landward part of Calshot Spit, July 2017

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Old metal notice indicating the private nature of the shore of the Cadland Estate

The cliff is part of the extensive Cadland Estate, as is shown on the old notice, by the beach huts. The beach is accessible southwestwards to a modern, timber barrier, about three quarters of a kilometre from here. Modern notices will be found there. The metal one, by the beach huts, shown here is old, half-buried in shingle and, unfortunately, it seems to have been rather ill-treated. It is from 1932 and is of historic interest (thus, perhaps it needs raising from the shingle, given a cautious cleaning and retained on public view in perhaps a better location nearby).

The shingle beach at Hill Head, Calshot, part of Stanswood Bay, and with beach huts placed rather low, just at the top of the shingle beach

Within part of Stanswood Bay, the Hill Head or Hillhead area is of interest. The shingle beach is well-developed here. The back cliff is of Pleistocene gravel over Barton Sand, but it is mostly rather degraded and overgrown (trees grown on it to the southwest). As shown, elsewhere in this webpage, there is evidence from an old metal notice that the shingle beach top has risen in height since 1932. A rather optimistic method of placing beach huts seems, at first sight, to have been adopted here. They seem to be based not much higher than the top of the shingle beach. This implies that seawater could reach them in the greatest storms. It is possible that the bases of the beach huts were once placed above the top of the beach and that the beach has risen? Or has some calculated risk been taken? The matter seems strange but it is not well-understood here. Presumably the implication is that if any future storm exceeds the highest previous one (which built up the beach) then the beach huts might be liable to be hit by wave action (at the maximum wave height). In other words, is there an adequate safety margin? No real research has been made here so this is just a question. Are the beach huts sufficiently raised above maximum beach height and maximum storm wave height? They may be, but it is a valid question because the huts seem to be not far above top beach height; more information might be useful. I will look at them again in case I have misunderstood.

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7b, EAGLE CLIFF, Luttrell's Tower

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Luttrell's Tower at Eaglehurst, in Stanswood Bay, near Calshot Spit, is a remarkable indicator of a stable coast line since the 18th century

Luttrell's Tower in Stanswood Bay, near Calshot Spit, Solent, Hampshire

An usual carving at the seaward steps of Luttrell's Tower, Eaglehurst, near Calshot Spit

Luttrell's Tower with steps to the beach down an old cliff has survived in this location since the 18th century. This is a remarkably stable marker point. It is probable that it was built shortly after the large-scale drift of shingle northeastward from the Lepe Beach area during the hurricane of 1703. This shingle, onshore and offshore, have protected the site and the old relict cliff. There has been no new erosion here, but further east at the Nature Reserve there is active erosion of the cliff at the present time (see the section on the Eocene and Pleistocene deposits there). So Luttrell's Tower is an important fixed point, useful in determing the history of this coastline. The tower and Calshot Castle have both survived very long periods of time, but the castle is older (16th century).

[Historic note: Luttrell's Tower or Eaglehurst is at Stanswood Bay, near the eastern end of the cliff line. It rises 110ft (34m.) and stands above the 30ft (9m.) high Eagle Cliff of Eocene strata overlain by Pleistocene gravel. It was built in the mid 1700s by Temple Simon Luttrell, son of the Earl of Carhampton. It has cellars beneath and formerly a tunnel running to the beach. The Earl of Cavan lived in the house at one time.
For a series of excellent photographs of the Tower and the Eaglehurst Estate see the following, highly recommended, website:
A holiday home fit for a queen! Country estate that caught the eye of Queen Victoria and was once home to radio pioneer Marconi goes on sale for 6.5 million pounds. (Daily Mail, online. By Lizzie Edmonds, 23rd July 2014.)
Much later, in 1906 Guglielmo Marconi had a laboratory in the top room. On the morning of the 10th April, 1912, Marconi, his wife and daughter, Degna (only four year old) climbed the tower with her mother and looked out at a ship sailing past to the sea. The top of the tower was higher than the deck of the ship. It was the Titanic, almost certainly using the West Solent route out. The ship was carrying an old, obsolete radio system of Marconi, devised in 1897, which had been installed only weeks before the disaster. So Mr Marconi saw the ship with his system on board sail past his laboratory at the tower next to the West Solent. It was much later, in 1927, that Marconi laid a wreath at a small Battery Park memorial, New York city, for Jack Phillips, the wireless operator who had gone down with the Titanic, still sending out distress calls to the last. Degna, in later life commented that she, at the age of four, waved to the people on the Titanic and they waved back. However if you now sit at the cliff next to Luttrell's Tower and look at passing ships you will see that they are too far out in the mid-channel of the West Solent to see people easily, if at all. The Titanic would have been a large but fairly distant ship when it was observed from here. Incidently, it would not be surprising if it took the more-direct West Solent Channel; in contrast, the large cruise liners of today normally take the deeper southeastern channel past Portsmouth (some smaller ships go west).
Re Marconi, see Revolutions in Communication. Media History from Guttenberg to the Digital Age. - Radio and the Titanic, By Bill Kovarik]

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See particularly: Clare and Fred Murley (1991); section on Luttrell's Tower.

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The relics of an old structure, perhaps some type of boat haul near Luttrell's Tower, Eagle Cliff, southwest of Calshot Spit

Here, near Luttrell's Tower there are the remains of some concrete platform at the base ot the cliff. Down the slope, at low tide there is some old, rusting metal work. It is too broken and rusted to be sure, but it might, perhaps, be the remains of some type of winch for pulling up a boat near the tower. Notice, at the degraded, sloping relic of the cliff the numerous Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) trees, a Mediterranean tree, probably favoured by the mild climate of this southern England coast. These tree are present all along the old degraded slopes of Eagle Cliff.

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7c - EAGLE CLIFF, STANSWOOD BAY - SARSEN STONES

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A beach-worn, sarsen stone at Luttrell's Tower, Eagle Cliff, near Calshot Spit, as seen in January, 2015

A single, beach-worn, sarsen at Luttrell's Tower near Calshot Spit, the Solent, Hampshire

Relatively soft quartzite in a sarsen stone at Luttrell's Tower, Stanswood Bay, near Calshot Spit

A sarsen stone emerging from the base of Gravel Terrace 2, Chilling Cliff, Solent Estuary near Fareham, photograph by Gary Manning, 2011

A joint-bounded, rectangular sarsen stone on the beach below Chilling Cliff, northwest of Hill Head, Hampshire, Solent coast, 2007

See also:
Erratics and Sarsens of the Wessex Coast webpage.

A single sarsen stone has been observed on the beach seaward of Luttrell's Tower (Eaglehurst). Since the cliffs are not retreating just here and the tower has been in existence since about 1730 it is likely that the sarsen has been on the beach for 300 years or more. It is of the large tabular type that is common at Chilling Cliff, Brownwich Cliff and elsewhere to the east and southeast. However, it has been much eroded by the abrasive action of beach shingle. It a relatively soft sarsen that is easily broken with a light hammer blow.

The sarsen has presumably come from the low gravel terrace deposits which are present in the cliff. They are at a similar level to the Terrace 2 gravels of Chilling Cliff and Brownwich Cliff. Some of the place names in the area include "Stone". In some cases this may refer to flint pebbles, but perhaps some are references to sarsen stones.

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7d EAGLE CLIFF, BEACH PEBBLES

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[beach pebble photographs to be added.

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8. LOCATION - BOURNE GAP, ERODING CLIFF.
(BEYOND, SW OF, EAGLE CLIFF)

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8a. Barton Sand and Pleistocene Gravel in a New Cliff
(exposed by Erosion near Bourne Gap, within Nature Reserve)

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A stretch of coast at the southwestern part of Stanswood Bay is private land, a Nature Reserve, and part of the Cadland Estate, and with no public access. There is a substantial timber barrier that extends down to low water mark. Do not try to enter. Beyond the barrier there is a low, eroding cliff of Barton Sand overlain by a Pleistocene gravel terrace. The Pleistocene deposits are very unusual for this region, in that there is almost as much sand as there is gravel present. The most probable explanation is that there was originally a river-cliff of Barton Sand close by.

The reason for the presence of cliff here is that there is normal marine erosion, with a slowly rising sea level, and very soft non-resistant strata present. From here to the northeast there is a large accumulation of flint shingle, both onshore and offshore, supposedly transported here in the great storm of 1703. This provides protection in the direction of Calshot Spit. There is no great accumulation at Bourne Gap and its vicinity, so therefore the cliff is more vulnerable.

It is possible to photograph these cliffs with a telephoto lens, from the barrier or perhaps with a boat, but without attempting to enter the area. The geological features are unusual, particularly in the Pleistocene gravel, but they cannot be examined close-up. Some enlarged distant photographs,shown below, might be of use. Some images have been corrected for obliquity by processing on-screen.

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The timber barrier at the northeastern end of the Nature Reserve, Stanswood Bay, near Calshot Spit, Hampshire

An eroding, private, stretch of coast in the Bourne Gap area in the southwestern part of Stanswood Bay, near Calshot Spit, Hampshire

A distant view, from near Luttrell's Tower, of the Nature Reserve around Bourne Gap in Stanswood Bay, Hampshire, near Calshot Spit

An eroding stretch in the Bourne Gap area, southeastern part of Stanswood Bay, southwest of Calshot Spit, Hampshire

Barton Sand overlain unconformably by Pleistocene gravel and sand, Bourne Gap area, southwestern part of Stanswood Bay, southwest of Calshot Spit, West Solent

A laterally expanded view of the laminated sands within the Pleistocene gravel deposit, Bourne Gap area, southwestern part of Stanswood Bay, southwest of Calshot Spit, Hampshire

Barton Sands and Pleistocene gravel cliffs, in the Bourne Gap area, southeastern part of Stanswood Bay, Hampshire

Details of the sandy, Pleistocene gravels in the nature reserve of the Bourne Gap area, near Nelson's Place, southwestern Stanswood Bay, west of Calshot Spit, West Solent

Cross-laminated sand deposits from numerous flood events, as seen within a low-level, Pleistocene gravel in the Bourne Gap area, southwestern Stanswood Bay, southwest of Calshot Spit, West Solent, in 2008

A distant view of the coast southwest of Bourne Gap, in the Cadland Estate, near Calshot Spit, Hampshire

A view of the Bourne Gap coast of Stanswood Bay, in 2010, as seen from the D-Day construction area near Stansore Point, Lepe Beach area

The lowest photograph above was taken of the Bourne Gap area of Stanswood Bay in 2010, from the D-Day, Casion, construction area northeast of Stansore Point. It appears to show the Bourne Gap area without significant cliff erosion. However, caution is needed because some Google Earth photographs suggest that it had already taken place to some extent by this date. The problem is that the photograph above does not show the Bourne Gap shore far enough to the southeast, to be sure of the situation. There is some uncertainty here and more data is needed (the location is private and there is no access).

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For a stretch around Bourne Gap in the southwestern part of Stanswood Bay there is a short stretch of good cliff exposure of Barton Sand overlain by a low terrace of Pleistocene gravel. This is within a private estate, the Cadland Estate, which is also a Nature Reserve. It has no public access. The Barton Sand is present as yellow, oxidised sand in a small, but vertical, cliff. Above it is the Pleistocene gravel deposit is unusual. Although elsewhere this deposit is almost entirely of gravel, here it is very sandy and it shows much depositional lamination.

Further to the northeast, the Chama Bed, at the base of the Barton Sands, has been seen in the 1960s at the Fawley Power Station outfall in Stanswood Bay, near the beginning of Calshot Spit. It is a sandy clay that does not, just here, contain abundant Chama. It is, instead, very rich in small oysters.

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9. DISTANT LOCATIONS OF THE SOLENT, SEEN FROM AROUND CALSHOT SPIT

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A view of the Solent from the middle of Calshot Spit, Hampshire, July 2005.

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Chilling and Brownwich Cliffs, Solent coast, near Fareham, Hampshire, seen across Southampton Water from Calshot Spit

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Distant, telephoto, view of Cowes, Isle of Wight from Calshot Spit, Hampshire, July 2017

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10. DEEP CHANNELS FOR SHIPS NEAR CALSHOT SPIT

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Lepe Beach, Hampshire, with its Watch House and views of the Solent, including those of ships, like this cruise ship, Ruby Princess, which is swinging round the Brambles Bank

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A ship was beached on the Brambles Bank, not far from Calshot Spit in 2015, but subsequently refloated

Ships passing near Calshot Spit have to keep to the main, deep channels. These are sea-flooded river valleys. Adjacent to these channels are areas of former land, that has been flooded to only a shallow extent. The Brambles Bank is the most notable; occasionally part of it dies out (and a cricket match is traditional played there on occasions). Sometimes, as shown above in an example from 2015, ships are trapped on the Brambles Bank.

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9. DISTANT LOCATIONS OF THE SOLENT, SEEN FROM AROUND CALSHOT SPIT

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[END OF RE-ORGANISED WEBPAGE]

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10. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES

Please go to the:

Solent Bibliography.

|Home and List of Webpages |Erratics of the Wessex Coast.| | Solent Introduction| | Solent Bibliography -Undivided | Solent Bibliography - Topics | Fawley Power Station Geology |New Forest Geology Bibliography | |New Forest Geology Guide| | Hurst Castle Spit|

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Copyright 2017, Ian West, Catherine West, Tonya Loades, and Joanna Bentley. All rights reserved. This is a purely academic website and images and text may not be copied for publication or for use on other webpages or for any commercial activity. A reasonable number of images and some text may be used for non-commercial academic purposes, including field trip handouts, lectures, student projects, dissertations etc, providing the source is acknowledged.

Disclaimer: Geological fieldwork involves some level of risk, which can be reduced by knowledge, experience and appropriate safety precautions. Persons undertaking field work should assess the risk, as far as possible, in accordance with weather, conditions on the day and the type of persons involved. In providing field guides on the Internet no person is advised here to undertake geological field work in any way that might involve them in unreasonable risk from cliffs, ledges, rocks, sea or other causes. Not all places need be visited and the descriptions and photographs here can be used as an alternative to visiting. Individuals and leaders should take appropriate safety precautions, and in bad conditions be prepared to cancell part or all of the field trip if necessary. Permission should be sought for entry into private land and no damage should take place. Attention should be paid to weather warnings, local warnings and danger signs. No liability for death, injury, damage to, or loss of property in connection with a field trip is accepted by providing these websites of geological information. Discussion of geological and geomorphological features, coast erosion, coastal retreat, storm surges etc are given here for academic and educational purposes only. They are not intended for assessment of risk to property or to life. No liability is accepted if this website is used beyond its academic purposes in attempting to determine measures of risk to life or property.

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Dr Ian West, author of these webpages

Webpage - written and produced by:


Ian West, M.Sc. Ph.D. F.G.S.

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at his private address, Romsey, Hampshire, kindly supported by Southampton University,and web-hosted by courtesy of iSolutions of Southampton University. The website does not necessarily represent the views of Southampton University. The website is written privately from home in Romsey, unfunded and with no staff other than the author, but generously and freely published by Southampton University. Field trips shown in photographs do not necessarily have any connection with Southampton University and may have been private or have been run by various organisations.