Britain at Low Tide

Channel 4 (3 x 60 mins)

  • Info

Every day, on a sandy beach or a rocky foreshore, fascinating evidence of our island history appears and disappears as the tide rolls in and rolls back out again. In this brand new series, paleontologist Dr Tori Herridge and archaeologist Dr Alex Langlands explore the archaeology of Britain’s coastline, the historical remains we see when the tide goes out.

The three episodes visit the coasts of Northumberland, Lancashire and Essex. With the help of experts in this kind of archaeology, Tori and Alex discover a lost fortress, a sunken pier, prehistoric footprints and even a German U-boat. They investigate the extraordinary stories behind these discoveries and how they ended up in the inter-tidal zone.

The series is literally an eye-opener. Stumps of wood in the estuarine mud of Essex are revealed to be ancient fish traps. Bricks and mortar on the beach at Formby turn out to be the charred rubble left over from the Liverpool Blitz. Yet another pile of bricks proves to be the first lifeboat station in the world. Banks of earth shaped like a doughnut once supported a fort built on the orders of Henry VIII.

At the moment, all this archaeology is available to anyone who cares to go looking for it, but time is short for the archaeologists who want to record it. Rising sea levels and coastal erosion mean it won’t be very long before it’s all swept away. Britain at Low Tide captures a vanishing past for us all to see.

 

Help CITiZAN monitor England's coastal and inter-tidal heritage - get started here