SLOPE INSTABILITY AT THE GIANT'S CAUSEWAY
AND CAUSEWAY COAST WORLD HERITAGE SITE

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A REPORT PREPARED BY:
THE SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND PALAEOECOLOGY, QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY BELFAST
AND
THE DEPARTAMENTO DE GEOGRAFÍA, UNIVERSIDAD DE VALLADOLID
IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST, NORTHERN IRELAND

The Causeway WHS is a spectacular and complex coastal landscape, and is without doubt the most important landscape site within Northern Ireland. In physical terms, it exemplifies the ongoing evolution of a high energy, hard rock coastline with a complex coastal morphology, and is representative of much of the north and parts of the east Antrim coastline. Moreover, in 2003 the UNESCO/IUCN evaluation mission to the site highlighted its importance as a 'dynamic geological site with ongoing geological processes and coastal erosion phenomena, which have to be managed as such'. As such, it is an exemplar of the challenges facing those with a duty of care for iconic many other coastlines that have to be managed not only for site integrity, but also for continued access by the general public. All of which has to be achieved against the backdrop of a dynamic and constantly changing physical environment whose future development is uncertain in light of projected environmental change and ongoing human intervention (Smith 2005).

Central to this management strategy has to be a detailed knowledge of the nature, location and underlying causes of the many slope failures that pose a potential threat to the integrity of the site and the access that the more than 750,000 annual visitors have come to expect. The information contained within this website therefore represents a first step towards the mapping of hazards associated with slope failures within that part of the site that is generally open to the public. In doing this, it sets out to provide a classification of the failures that provides an insight into their causes and to establish a baseline against which future changes in the landscape can be assessed. This information is thus essential for the future, sustainable management of the site.

Professor Bernard Smith. Queen's University Belfast.


Designed by Ruth Estrada. Content by Professor Bernard Smith and Ramón Pellitero.


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