A Global Network of Coastal Sites

Established in 2023 following the inclusion of Hurst Castle, UK, on the World Monuments Watch, the Coastal Connections program is a joint initiative between World Monuments Fund (WMF) and English Heritage that aims to form a global network of coastal heritage sites by bringing together communities and organizations to share their knowledge and expertise.

Global in scope, the project will enable custodians of coastal heritage sites around the world to learn from each other. You can sign up for more information by clicking here.

Two photos of castles on the coast, one in grey stone and one in white plaster with cannons facing the sea

Left: Methoni Castle (Ronny Siegel/Wikipedia); right: Cape Coast Castle (Rjruiziii/Wikipedia).

Coastal Connections will develop tools and principles for guiding future management decisions. These range from the construction of sea defenses to citizen science and community engagement for remembering and recording heritage.

Crucially, it will also engage with approaches such as “adaptive release” that become necessary when protection becomes unsustainable in the face of climate change.

Through the development of its network and resources, Coastal Connections will enable us to meet the challenges of climate change together.

Why Is Coastal Connections Needed?

Coastal zones are among the most dynamic and volatile environments on the planet. They also include some of our most treasured heritage sites.

As the rate of climate change accelerates, addressing its impacts poses the greatest and most complex challenges that we have ever faced. These challenges are exceptional, but they are not unique. Coastal processes have shaped shorelines—and communities—for millions of years. We believe that sharing knowledge with other communities and organizations who face similar challenges is the best way to adapt, learn, and build resilience.

What Is WMF Doing?

We’re working with English Heritage and site managers around the globe to protect historic coastal sites against the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and the increasing frequency of severe storms.

These impacts have made coastal heritage even more vulnerable than before. Each year we see more evidence of damage caused by erosion and flooding, which in turn requires us to take action to conserve these sites.

Starting in January 2024, we will be launching a series of webinars for those involved in safeguarding coastal heritage sites. We are also developing a virtual classroom that will contain online resources to promote best practice in conserving our treasured coastal heritage.

We believe that by sharing knowledge and expertise from managers and practitioners around the world, we will enhance our management of these sites and improve their resilience for the challenges ahead.

World Monuments Fund’s Coastal Connections project has been made possible, in part, by support from the Paul Mellon Fund for Architectural Preservation in Great Britain.

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Featured Coastal Sites

Aerial view of Hurst Castle in the Summer, 2021. Photo courtesy of English Heritage.

Hurst Castle, UK

The long-term survival of this sixteenth-century fort depends on the ability to protect it from the action of the sea, made ever harder by sea level rise and more frequent storm surges.

Arches of the Great Mosque, 2009

Historic Sites of Kilwa, Tanzania

Home to some of the most significant historic sites along the Swahili coast, Kilwa is threatened by rising sea levels exacerbated by the reduction of protective mangrove forests.

 Mussenden Temple

Mussenden Temple, United Kingdom

One of the most photographed monuments in Northern Ireland, Mussenden Temple's dramatic location leaves it highly vulnerable to coastal erosion, which has caused the cliff supporting the structure to recede

View of the Koagannu cemetery, 2014.

Koagannu Mosques and Cemetery, Maldives

This heritage site and its island home are seriously threatened by sea level rise, while the coral reefs surrounding Maldive’s 26 atolls are impacted by rising ocean temperature and acidity


Scott's Hut and the Explorers' Heritage of Antarctica

These surviving wooden structures are a remarkable testament to the first expeditions on the continent, but shifting weather patterns over Ross Island threaten the buildings.

Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile

The village of Orongo, located in the island's south, is considered among the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world, but the site’s exposure has led to structural instability and the loss of irreplaceable petroglyphs.