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WALES BEACH GUIDE

Coastal Terminology

Bight
A shallow indentation in the coastline forming a wide bay; the sea area between two headlands.
Bill
Bill
A narrow promontory
Bog
An area of soft, often waterlogged ground consisting of decaying vegetation
Bore
A large wave surging up a river estuary, caused by a fast rising tide or tidal surge
Causeway
CausewayCauseway to St Margarets Island
A road or tidal crossing, above the sea or other wet area
Chart Datum
Often seen on Tide Tables. A level from which water depths and tide heights are measured. Usually the lowest possible calculated tide height, so that tide tables will never show a negative height
Doline
A depression in the ground, often funnel-shaped, caused by the ground collapsing into a limestone cave
Dumping Waves
Also known as Plunging waves, these occur when the face of the wave develops a concave shape, and the crest falls - often with considerable force - onto the shore. They occur mostly on beaches with a steep gradient
Creek
Creek
A narrow inlet, especially one draining a salt-marsh
Dune Slack
Dune slacks
The low-lying depressions in sand dunes, where vegetation usually flourishes
Ebb Tide
A falling tide - (the 'drop' in surfing terms)
Estuary
The tidal section of a river
Fathom
Unit of water depth - equal to 6 feet
Flood Tide
A rising tide - (the 'push' in surfing terms)
Foreshore
The area of the beach between high and low tide
Green Waves/dt>
(Surfing) A wave which hasn't broken
Groyne
Groyne
A stone or timber barrier on the beach, to reduce erosion and longshore drift
Isthmus
A narrow strip of land connecting two larger areas of land
Lagoon
An area of sea water, separated from the sea by rocks or sand
Land Breeze
A light wind blowing from land to sea, where the air over the sea is warmer than that over the land and rises, being replaced by cooler air from the land. Usually occuring after a hot day.
Localism
A dislike of people who aren't local - particularly by surfers
Marsh
An area of wet or muddy low-lying ground frequently flooded
Neap Tides
Tides which occur around the time of a quarter moon. These have the lowest tidal range
Offshore
Winds blowing from the land to the sea
Onshore
Winds blowing from the sea to the land
Perigean Spring Tide
An exceptionally high (and low) Spring Tide which occurs a few times a year when the moon's elliptical orbit brings it closest to the earth
Polder
An area of reclaimed low-lying land, protected by embankments
Promontory
A point of land (usually with some height) sticking out into the sea
Psammophilic (adj)
Marram GrassMarram grass
(of plants or animals) thriving in a sandy environment
Purl (verb)
To flow with a soft rippling sound - as of streams across a beach
Race
A strong tidal current flowing through a narrow channel e.g. between the mainland and Ramsey or Bardsey islands
Rails
The sides of a surfboard
Reef
An area of rocks or sand, usually just below the surface of the sea.
Reef Break
(Surfing) Waves that break over a reef
Ria
Ria Solva Harbour - An example of a ria
A glaciated river valley, open to the sea
Rip current
Rip currentsRip currents at Monkstone
A body of water flowing out to sea
Road
A sheltered area of water where boats can safely lie at anchor
Runnel
A small stream or channel, especially one which drains a tidal pool
Saltmarsh
Saltmarsh
A marshy area - usually on river estuaries - often flooded by the sea
Sand Bar
A ridge of sand projecting out into the sea usually created by river currents, and a dangerous place to be on an incoming tide
Sea Breeze
A light wind blowing in off the sea, caused by a temperature differential where the land is warmer than the sea, causing air to rise, and be replaced by cooler air from the sea. Usually occurs on hot days.
Sea Glass
Small pieces of glass, worn down and rounded by the sea
Sea Mist
Sea Mist
Moisture laden air being carried in on a sea breeze.
Skerry
A small, rocky islet
Slack Water
The state of the tide around high or low tide, when there is little tidal movement
Slough
A bog or marsh, usually connecting with a river or the sea
Sound
A narrow channel of water connecting two larger areas or forming an inlet; the channel between an island and the mainland
Spilling waves
Spilling Waves
Waves in which the broken water gently tumbles down the face of the wave. These occur mostly on beaches with little gradient
Spit
A bank of sand or shingle, jutting out to sea
Spring Tides
Tides which occur around the time of a full or new moon. These have the largest tidal range
Spume
The white foam seen on waves during windy or stormy weather
Strait
A narrow channel between two large areas of land
Strand
The land bordering a sea or lake
Strandline
The line of sea-borne debris on a beach just above the high water mark
Swatch
An area of shallow water which remains covered at low tide
Tombolo
Tombolo
A spit of sand or shingle between an island and the mainland
Wave-cut Platform
A region of relatively flat rocks at the base of the cliffs, caused by sea erosion
Zawn
A steep-sided, narrow inlet in the cliffs