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Pebbles on a shingle beach in Somerset, England

A shingle beach is a beach which is armoured with pebbles or small to medium sized cobbles. Typically the stone composition may grade from characteristic sizes ranging from two to 200 millimeters in diameter.

While this beach landform is most commonly associated with Western Europe, examples are found in Bahrain, the United States and in a number of other world regions such as the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, where they are associated with the shingle fans of braided rivers.

The ecosystems formed by this unique association of rock and sand allow colonization by a variety of rare and endangered species.[1]



Shingle beaches are typically steep because the waves easily flow through the coarse, porous surface of the beach decreasing the effect of backwash erosion and increasing the formation of sediment into a steeply sloping beach [2].

Notable shingle beaches

See also


  1. ^ UK's rare shingle beaches at risk, Alex Kirby, BBC News Online, June 3, 2003
  2. ^ Easterbrook, Don J. Surface Processes and Landforms. 1999 Prentice-Hall Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ


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