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The Groynes of East Wittering

They are so tall.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen groynes so tall. Further up the beach, at Bracklesham Bay - where we had eaten steak patties at Billy’s by the Beach before starting our walk - the groynes are soft and muted, moulded into art sculptures by the waves, washed down to nearly-nothing by the tides. The manmade succumbing to nature once again.

But by the time you reach East Wittering, there are lines and lines of them, new, strong, bold. They stand majestic, alert and upright, as if ready to take on anything. They goad the sea into battle, shout ‘Come on then, do your worst!’

What I loved most was this: the juxtaposition of old and new. Next to the blocky clean-cut posts sat a tiny stump of the old groyne, shrunken, with grooves like wrinkles. An older mentor marking the place, telling the younger, stronger one where to stand, how to do this thing.

This is what we do. We pass on what we know. Sometimes we feel small, or like we’ve missed our moment. But maybe we’re just showing the others, the new ones where to stand. How to do it.


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