From the Mesolithic site at Bouldnor to agriculture, settlements and the harbour, the landscape around Yarmouth has been shaped by people and their activities over thousands of years.
The natural environment has also changed and adapted, the Western Yar Estuary we see today providing a good example. When Yarmouth Mill and the breakwater were built the harbour started to develop and land was reclaimed from the sea. The changes around the mouth of the estuary caused the water flow to slow down and the mud flats to build up as the sediment in the water dropped out of suspension. The higher mud banks then provided a more stable area for the saltmarsh plants to establish and grow and the beautiful landscape we see today developed.
Now an important part of the Isle of Wight’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the estuary is still changing with the impact of higher sea level and increased storminess presenting a challenge for the future. Although the estuary is a very dynamic ecosystem, we often need to understand and manage our activities to make sure they are sustainable in the face of natural changes such as climate changes and sea level rise.