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Longshore drift is responsible for the erosion of beaches and the formation of spits (ridges of sand or shingle projecting into the water).Attempts are often made to halt longshore drift by erecting barriers, or groynes, at right angles to the shore.The air expands explosively, breaking the rocks apart.Rocks and pebbles flung by waves against the cliff face wear it away by the process of corrasion.In Britain, the southern half of the coastline is slowly sinking (on the east coast, at the rate of half a centimetre a year) whilst the northern half is rising, as a result of rebounding of the land mass (responding to the removal of ice from the last Ice Age).
Attrition is the process by which the eroded rock particles themselves are worn down, becoming smaller and more rounded.
Frost shattering (or freeze-thaw), caused by the expansion of frozen sea water in cavities, and biological weathering, caused by the burrowing of rock-boring molluscs, also result in the breakdown of the coastal rock.
Where resistant rocks form headlands, the sea erodes the coast in successive stages.
The British coastline offers some of the best places in the country to visit - care must be taken on cliffs and on the shoreline - rocks and rock pools are often very slippy and in places it's very easy to get cut off by fast approaching tides.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Coastguard patrol the coast but common sense should always be used.