Concrete sea walls

In the UK, approximately 8% of our coastline is defended by using hard defences such as sea walls. They are an essential part of our islands sea defence infrastructure and provide a range of benefits to the environment, the economy and public safety.

By providing a physical barrier between the sea and the land the risk of flooding is reduced to protect properties against waves and storm surges.

Sea walls can be of a multitude of shapes including vertical L shaped walls, stepped, sloping and wave shaped walls and below we explain the differences between each type.

Concrete sea walls
Coastal sea defence projects

Vertical or L-shaped walls

Vertical or L-shaped walls extend down to the seabed and are designed to completely block the impact of waves. They are often used in areas where the coastline is relatively straight and there is little natural protection from the waves. They are effective in blocking waves but can cause significant wave reflection and can lead to increased erosion at the base of the wall.

Sloping revetments

Sloping revetments are designed to absorb the impact of waves and gradually dissipate their energy. They are often used in areas where the coastline is irregular and the waves are coming from different directions. They are effective in reducing the impact of waves and can also help to reduce erosion.

View our canewdon blocks page

Hartlepool Headland Sea Defence
Canewdon blocks revetment


Breakwaters are offshore structures that are designed to create a calm area behind them by breaking up the incoming waves. They can be made of rock, concrete, or other materials and are often used to protect harbours.

Wave walls

Wave walls (or wave return walls) have been specifically designed to catch, deflect and redirect sea water as it hits the wall. Their distinctive curves replicate the appearance of a wave, and in doing so reduce the amount of erosion that occurs at the base of the wall. They are often positioned parallel to the coastline to break up the force of incoming waves.

Find out more about our wave walls

Finishing touches on completed Poundfield Precast sea defence wall at Whitley Bay
Sea Defence

Precast concrete has long been used in the construction of sea walls as it allows projects to be completed more quickly than by using insitu methods. Produced in quality-controlled factory environments precast concrete ensures a consistency of product, coupled with the routine achievement of high specifications, time after time, which offers considerable cost and time savings.

Where nature-based approaches to sea defences are not technically , economically of socially feasible precast concrete comes to the fore. As a business we have also been involved in looking at how the texture of concrete can be changed to help improve biodiversity and encourage the growth of microorganisms. By providing a more textured face, similar to natural rock-like surfaces, the ecological value of concrete can be improved in a process known as greening the grey. These more natural habitats provide both aesthetic and ecological benefits and can be easily incorporated at the manufacturing stage by the use of textured rubber formliners.

Poundfield Precast have been involved with many coastal sea defence projects over the years and have built up a vast experience in providing effective solutions. At the same time Poundfield has led the way in the development of low and ultra-low carbon precast concrete which is becoming increasingly popular and demanded by our customers. For example, The Environment Agency has pledged to use low-carbon concrete as standard when constructing flood defences, providing it meets their performance requirements as it moves on its journey to become net zero by 2030.

Read more information on some of the sea defence projects we have been part of.

For advice on how precast concrete can play a part in your own sea defence projects contact our bespoke team on 01449 723150 or email [email protected].

Get in touch

Newsletter signup

Be the first to find out what’s happening at Poundfield Precast. Hear about company announcements and receive news on projects we’re working on.