Herald - Issue 452

Page 22 • The HERALD • 25th January 2024 v SAY YOU SAW IT IN THE HERALD v M.D.S. DIGITAL INSTALLS/SERVICE • DIGITAL AERIALS/FREEVIEW • SKY DIGITAL/FREESAT DIGITAL • EXTRA TELEVISION POINTS • TELEPHONE LINES/POINTS • TELEVISION SYSTEMS SETUP/TUNED • WALL MOUNTED TV’S QUALIFIED, FAST FRIENDLY SERVICE FREE SURVEYS/QUOTES BEAULIEU: 01590 611011 MOBILE: 07717 194441 Security advice & upgrades THE SOLENT PART 2 by Patricia Hedley-Goddard Around 8,500 years ago, when the climate began to warm up, the sea was roughly 15 to 18 meters below what it is now. e Solent has around 39 rivers and streams owing into it plus water from many other courses. 45% of the fresh water owing into it comes from the rivers Itchen and Test. During the life of e Solent the tides and currents have laid down layers of gravel, sand and mud over its bed, and thrown up shingle and created beaches and sand banks around the shores. Gravels were laid down in the cold eras, and clay was laid down in the warmer periods. Various fossils have been found such as pollen grains, beetles, small shells, aquatic creatures and algae, all enabling the history of the Solent sea bed to be analysed. Recent work has revealed that the original gravel layer on the sea bed was deposited between 210,000 and 125,000 years ago, and other layers at stages between 65,000 and 40,000 years ago. In a layer of clay approximately 8.5 meters below the present sea level, a fresh water fen and grass and pine vegetation was found. Changes to the Solent ‘ oor’ show a brackish tidal creek, a salt marsh habitat, grasslands and pine, birch, mixed oak, and hazel woodlands. Erosion has then clawed back great patches of land from the shoreline as well, exposing ancient layers of sediment, all of which tells the scientists/archaeologists some of the ancient history of this inland sea. Around the entrance to Southampton Water there is a sand shoal at the junction of the East/West Solent called Bramble Bank. It is partly exposed at the lowest spring tides, and some years this occurrence is marked by a cricket match being played on the Bank. In January 2015 a large vessel returning to Germany ran aground on the Bramble Bank causing high densities of migrating and overwintering birds who arrive at these valuable food sources and rest areas. e ner the deposited sediment, the more numerous the variety of visiting birds. eir beaks can more easily penetrate so sediment. In early spring shoals of young sh move into the Solent to gain strength before moving out to the deeper water in the winter. is process of evolution never stops and sometimes gives surprising results. In December 2022, a member of the public was walking along the beach at Calshot in the dark hours of the morning when he came across a Walrus asleep on the beach! e media immediately named the Walrus ‘ or’. It was a very rare occurrence, and ‘ or’ eventually returned to the sea and made his way home to where the seas are colder. On 17th March 2023 a small tooth sand tiger shark was spotted by a lady who was walking along the beach. It was rolling around in the shallow waters. e next morning it was found dead near Inchmary. Local historian Dan Snow went to see it on the Saturday to report on it but by Sunday it had been butchered. It’s tail, ns and head had been removed. Dan appealed for the return of the head which contains the intricate details of the shark’s life, but it was not returned. is type of shark would not normally be found north of the warmer waters of northern Spain. Is this an indication that the water around our shores is warming up? In the Spring of 2023 a dolphin was found dead on Lepe Beach. Again, this was a warm water creature and would not normally be found in the Solent. A seal is o en seen swimming in the waters along the west end of Lepe Beach near the mouth of the Beaulieu river. Fluctuating temperatures throughout the northern hemisphere over the past millennia have a ected huge changes in sea levels causing migration of di erent plants and animals. e Solent will keep evolving, deepening its depth and widening its shores. As underwater exploration becomes more sophisticated, divers will discover other secrets of the life of the Solent. It is an everchanging inland sea, and in millennia to come, maybe, divers, scientists and archaeologists will be reporting on their ndings for the age that we are living in. With thanks to Gary Momber M.D of the Maritime Trust who forwarded his 400 page technical paper to me at the commencement of Covid 19 problems. At that time, I was actively engaged in writing ‘Tales from the Graveyard’ of All Saints Church, Fawley. Consequently, I did not have time to research the contents of his paper and write a less technical version more suited to the readers of The Herald. I hope readers find this 2-part article of interest. It is much reduced from the original, but hopefully will give readers some understanding of ‘How the Solent began’. I hope that everything I have written is correct but if it is not, please forgive me! chaos to all shipping in and out of Southampton. The Solent tides are amongst the most complex in the world. e tidal range at the west end of the Solent Basin is far less than at the eastern end. In the West Solent between Hurst Castle and Colwell Bay there is a complex tidal pattern providing a ‘double tide’. is is part of Southampton’s success as a port, as large sea going ships can enter and leave on one of the two high tides in each 24 hours. Man has been exploiting the resources of the Hampshire coast along e Solent for thousands of years. It has been used for food, shing and human survival, but in the last few hundred years it has also been used for defence, trade and industry, including the leisure industry in more recent times. is has not all been detrimental to the coast line because it has resulted in many of the areas becoming species rich wetlands or fresh marsh stands of reeds. e Solent is not excessively cold in winter and supports