Five portraits of areas of coastal Britain which support specialised and very different communities.


01Beach Boys1998111219990308

Dorset's Studland Bay is among Britain's most crowded shorelines, and the section of the beach reserved for nudists has been causing problems for beach bobby PC Peter Norton.

02Out In The Wash1998111919990309

Britain's largest estuary, the Wash, once provided most of Britain's shellfish, but now its carpets of mussel and cockle have all but gone. What is flourishing is the heritage industry, with museums and millennium centres celebrating a fishing tradition that is actually breathing its last.

03Shell Damage19990311

On the island of Foulness - population 80 - the army tests weapons, firing them at low tide over the Goodwin Sands.

03Tangle Of The Isles1998112619990310

The Outer Hebrides' only export is derived from the abundant mass of tangleweed cast onto the foreshore. Since the War, a multinational food giant has purchased seaweed to process into food jellies, but this year the buying suddenly stopped.

04Shell Damage19981203

The military camp at Shoeburyness in Essex, where the armed forces have fired experimental weapons over the Goodwin Sands for 150 years, will close by Christmas. Two hundred locals must adjust to a life without shellfire.

05 LASTMud Queens1998121019990312

The deep mud in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland makes it the headquarters of the United Kingdom's mud-rescue coastguard. But this sea is now a battleground between conservationists and shellfish gatherers. Meanwhile, a rich artistic tradition draws inspiration from this ever-changing shore.

The deep mud in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland makes it the headquarters of the UK's mud-rescue coastguard.