The distribution of raised beaches in East Lothian, after Sissons, Smith and Cullingford (1966)

Raised estuarine flats at the mouth of the Tyne. High tide in the east has filled Tyne Mouth.

Three sea levels have been recognised here by Sissons (1975):

carse (2 m asl; <4.5 ka), main postglacial (6 m asl; ~6 ka) and kame terrace (18 m asl; ~15ka).

Image taken from the kame terrace near Kirklandhill.

raised beaches of the Firth of Forth

raised beach fossils

sea level change

Belhaven  Chapel Point

Raised storm beach gravels at Skateraw




The Main Postglacial Raised Beach at Skateraw, resting on a raised rock platform developed in Carboniferous Limestone



Raised beach

Definition: a coastal flat formed as a beach but now standing above sea level

Beaches form between the high and low water marks as sediment accumulates and is planed by waves. All beaches have a gradient towards the sea and this varies with the size of the sediment, with gravel beaches being the steepest.

The beach sediment may vary from gravel in exposed locations with high sediment supply, to mineral and shell sand and even mud in the more sheltered locations.

The beach surface is rarely absolutely flat, but generally has swales and berms. In exposed locations, storm beaches typically form a sequence of ridges.

Once formed, the beach may be raised above sea level if

  • the land rises or

  • the ocean volume falls.

The elevation of the now raised beach will depend on the balance between land movements and sea level change. The changes in sea level on a coast are complex and vary in time and space.