Welcome, to Intertidal Zones.
In 2021, Thanet is barely recognisable as an island. A narrow river separates it from the UK , but this channel was once several miles wide.
I have lived in Thanet since childhood and believed this change was a naturally occurring phenomenon. I thought that the sea had merely retreated as the river began to silt up. However, I recently discovered that in the 14th century, the church and landowners accelerated this process. The marshes were drained and claimed for agricultural use. The landscape I thought I knew has changed. From a bird's eye view, the scars are there. The fields have trenches to keep them dry, and there are mounded flood defences around the estuary. I am part of yet another generation to experience a further depleted landscape, unaware of what previously existed.
Today, our impact on the planet is enormous. We have lost 90% of UK wetlands within just 100 years. What remains is regularly polluted by local water companies. Ordinarily, I would insist that we protect these spaces, but right now, I feel disorientated. The effects of rising sea levels are so extensive that the drained land will soon be submerged again anyway. The sea will reclaim its marshes within 30 years, and the Wantsum channel will form once more. Homes and crops in low-lying areas will drown, habitats will change.
Intertidal Zones is a visual record of these changes. Using photography and archival research, I plan to create a resource that can guide our understanding of this region. I will collate the story of this landscape and create a much-needed discourse.