The Beach Below The Spittles

Rusty painted metal junk on the seashore with rocks

I discovered an interesting stretch of shoreline when I visited Lyme Regis yesterday. The cliff location is known as The Spittles and it is situated immediately east of the new sea wall. The tide was going out but not as far as in March 2010. Enough to disclose an array of boulders with scattered fossils, broken coloured glass, and rusting metal. The man-made junk resulted from a major landslide in 2008 when the contents of an old town rubbish tip (which had been in existence from 1920 to 1973) cascaded shore-wards with the rocks and mud. The junk continues to wear out of the cliff face to the present time.

There are some interesting items to be found. The rusting metal components, often with remnants of paint, provide intriguing contrasts with the natural environment in which they are lodged. There is a striking similarity between the metal colours and textures and those of the dead and dying autumnal colours of seaweed. As the water receded, it left intricate patterns in the sand around the rocks and even in fine sediments of smoother rock surfaces.

11 thoughts on “The Beach Below The Spittles

  1. Thank you, Claudia. It was a lovely morning and great fun to search among the beach rocks. I am posting a few more pictures of this place tomorrow, and I am sure that I will return there soon so see what else it has to offer.

  2. What a fascinating collection of shapes, colours and textures! You have a real eye for natural art. I am intrigued by object no.4 – do you know what it is?

  3. Hi, Jo. Because the images in the gallery are randomly arranged and they change position with each viewing, I am not certain which image you were looking at – but the photograph labelled Beneath The Spittles 4 is “the remains of a piece of kelp (like oar weed) on the shore with sun shining through it has the same general appearance and colour as some of the pieces of rusty iron on the beach at The Spittles, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK”. In case that was not the object you were interested in, all my photographs have written descriptions below them if you click to enlarge them and/or view them as a gallery sequence. I was not sure what exactly some of the rusty objects were; some looked like parts of cylindrical water tanks, car parts, and other pieces could have been painted metal shop advertising signs or flat cannisters (for oil for example).

  4. Thanks for the explanation, Jessica, I’m sorry I didn’t realise they were randomly listed! I’ve now seen the description beneath the pic (oops!) and it’s the mudstone boulder – fascinating. Thank you!

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