Secrets of the Sea Cliffs 3 Coast


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Secrets of the Sea Cliffs 3

On their journey around the coast of the United Kingdom, the team look at the secret life of the sea and how it shapes our cliffs.


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SEAGULLS CALL

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This is Coast.

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Our stunning sea cliffs.

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An imperious borderline stitched with a rainbow tapestry of stone.

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Deceptive and dramatic.

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Yielding and treacherous.

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Over millennia, we've learnt to negotiate this tricky terrain.

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And carve surprising uses from its rocky skeleton.

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My quest has brought me to the Isle of Wight.

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I'm on a mission to delve into the hidden world of our

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sea cliffs and I'm going to start with this key.

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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE THEME PLAYS

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Over a century ago, the locals unlocked a secret.

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This solid sea cliff had a helpfully soft core.

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Behind this grill is a disused lift shaft, a man-made hole,

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bored straight into the cliff.

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I'm going to extreme lengths,

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investigating mysteries at the heart of our sea cliffs.

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Our island's edge, as you've never seen it before.

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This is The Secret Life Of Sea Cliffs.

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My journey will take me across the vast and varied cliffs of Yorkshire.

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But first, I need to free myself from the depths of the Isle of Wight.

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Here, the sea has bitten chunks out of the headland.

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If nature could carve through the chalk, why not man?

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I've walked across cliffs, I've climbed up cliffs,

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but I've never abseiled through a cliff.

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It's completely otherworldly.

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In the late 19th century, the government had the cliff's centre

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scooped out, part of a secret defence plan.

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This looks like a... a spur tunnel, this.

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It's got a very high roof and it's full of debris.

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This one looks like the main one.

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These tunnels have lain untouched for decades.

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But clues to their use of still remain.

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Old electrical cables, carried in this rusting steel pipe.

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There's a gigantic, rusting engine.

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This must have been used to power the lift.

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A window ahead sheds some light.

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LAUGHING: Look at this!

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Unbelievable.

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What could be more secure than a fortress built into a cliff face?

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We're scratching at the surface of our

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sea cliffs to expose their secrets.

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I've made my way to North Yorkshire,

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but my precise location must remain under wraps.

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Here on the Yorkshire coast, there's a small group of locals

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who keep their clifftop activities rather secret.

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This precipitous spot is famous for its clifftop walks.

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The steep slopes keep many from the beach below. But not everyone.

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Nothing comes between a Yorkshireman and his fish.

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Only a select few know how to reach the real fishing hot spots.

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At the bottom of these cliffs lies the area's best fishing ground.

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And with some resourceful DIY, Glenn and Mike have

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constructed an interesting route to the pleasure pools below.

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So, how long have you been coming down here?

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I would think I've been coming roughly 20 years now.

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We know it really well.

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So, is that white thing what you slide down on? What's that made of?

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This is a fireman's hose. LAUGHTER

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This is unbelievable.

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It's an incredibly long way down.

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I had no idea fishermen did this kind of thing.

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It's quite scary, the first few times.

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You do seem to get used to it, the more you come.

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At the bottom, you find the perfect boys' getaway.

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But this beach doesn't give up its fishing secrets easily.

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Hidden from view, under the sea,

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a deep channel lies unseen below these waves.

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A gully, carved into the seabed,

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which funnels fish right up to the shore.

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What you've got here is a lot deeper water in here and the fish

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roam up and down, looking for food.

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So, really, this is about gully fishing, rather than open sea?

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Gullies are the natural place for bait to rest, come to rest.

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The fish know that, you see.

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But why is this fish-friendly gully under these cliffs

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in the first place?

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I think one of the main reasons why the gully fishes so well is

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the fact that it was actually deepened by man through industry.

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You see the tunnels here? Oh, right, yeah.

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Workers tunnelling into the cliffs also carved the underwater

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channel where the fish gather.

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In the 18th century, they quarried valuable minerals from the

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cliff edge, but without a natural harbour, they needed to gouge

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deep clefts into the sea floor to berth their trading boats.

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The boats may be gone,

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but their berths are a happy fishing ground for those in the know.

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And local industry brings other benefits.

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We've sort of had a helping hand with another mining industry.

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They're actually underneath us now, mining away for potash

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and they have an outlet pipe, which is about a mile out to sea.

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Yeah.

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And all the slurry and stuff that comes out of there is mixed

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in with the water and it colours the water,

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which is really good for fishing.

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Oh! Why do the fish like cloudy water?

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I think they've got more confidence to come inshore, you know,

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looking for bait and what have you. Especially during the daylight.

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So without the hand of man, there wouldn't be good fishing here?

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It's a combination... I think there will always be fish there,

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but it's been better, a lot better since that happened.

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Yeah. Yeah, without a doubt.

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And how long might you just stand here like this,

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waiting for something to happen?

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If there's fish in the gully, they're at it straightaway. Oh, really?

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Yeah, yeah. Fast. Yeah. Oh, he's got a fish, yeah. Whoa!

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He's got a fish, yeah. Pouting.

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Pouting? I haven't seen a pouting before.

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Scaling the sea cliffs is all part of the sport.

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Now, I want to meet the man behind the madness.

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A man known as "Big Cliff" pioneered the route down to this secret world.

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He's a local legend. And he's agreed to meet me, just up here.

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Now nearly 70, Big Cliff cannily conserves his climbing energy.

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Hi, good to meet you.

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So, is it true you put the fire hose there?

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What I did, I got a couple of anchorages and a 14-pound hammer,

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burned them in and this lad from Scarborough,

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who's a fireman, he put the hosepipe on the anchorages

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and then people have added to the thing over the years.

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And we got what we've got today, you know? Is your name really Big Cliff?

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Oh, no. I like my cliff fishing though.

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I used to end up on a big cliff, fishing off the top.

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So when I thought of a name for myself, I thought,

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"Oh, Big Cliff", you know? But my real name's Alan.

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Why do you find this coast so special?

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Well, I think, you're so, like, off the beaten track.

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You've got to put yourself out a little bit to be able to come here.

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It's the sort of place that an awful lot of people never ever see.

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They just go zooming past in their cars on the way to different places.

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Do you find it hard to come down here now?

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It's not the getting down, Nick, it's the getting back up!

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Scaling our coastal cliffs can test brains as well as brawn.

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There's more than one way to rise to the top.

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One final uplifting experience awaits me

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here at Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

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This Victorian seaside resort is sitting pretty on the cliff edge.

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And it's the spectacular cliff lift that's the secret of the town's success.

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This glorious invention allows holiday-makers to reach the beach.

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The two carriages might look independent,

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but they're ingeniously linked on a pulley system.

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As one falls, its twin rises.

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I'm meeting Paul Wakeford to get the full lowdown.

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Hello, there. Hello! Mind if I have a snoop?

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What an incredible engine room. It is. How does it work?

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Well, these trams weigh the same as each other,

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and I just fill one with water and it gets heavy,

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and down it goes, pulls the other one up.

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Close the doors...

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..turn the tap on, start filling it.

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How do you know when it's going to be heavy enough? There you go.

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Oh, I see! It's now heavy enough with water.

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It goes off on its own! Yes.

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Down she goes. The sheer weight of it.

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Gravity's making it work.

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It can be people.

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If you had 12 people going down and no-one coming up,

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you wouldn't need water.

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The tram, when it gets to the bottom,

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will empty all the water out automatically.

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But now the water's down the bottom? Yes.

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It collects in a tank at the bottom.

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And then we set a pump going, that's the only power needed,

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is to pump the water from the bottom tank back up to our top tank.

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What do you call it? They're not carriages, are they?

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What do you call them? It's a funicular tramway.

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And it's "funicular". Not "funny-colour". Funicular!

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Thank you very much!

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Originally, the Victorians would career down the cliff

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in 33 seconds, a white-knuckle ride.

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Today, for health safety reasons,

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it's a much more leisurely 55-second journey.

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While the lift did the hard work,

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the visitors could relax and take in the view,

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until they were deposited safely beside the seaside.

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Hello there. Thank you.

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As I reach the end of my journey,

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perhaps I've arrived at the best secret of all.

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How we've managed to surmount the challenges presented

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by our sea cliffs.

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Coming up with solutions to coastal conundrums

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has created some of our most exciting environments.

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Cliffs might look like dead ends, but then when we think outside the box,

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where the edge of land is steepest,

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we're really tested.

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On our sea cliffs, a secret and surprising world awaits.

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