This is a book that takes the reader on a detailed tour of many of the shores of Britain and Ireland and explains the reasons for their remarkably different scenery. Why, for example, do the rocky coastlines of Western Scotland and Ireland contrast so markedly with the sandy beaches of East Anglia? It describes how the complex coastline of North Wales evolved over some seven million years and also traces the ways in which the human impact has changed all our coastlines from prehistoric times to the present day. Crumbling cliffs, stark headlands, coral beaches, shingle spits, sand dunes and salt marshes – all are here, as are stories of Gaelic speakers, fisherman’s tales, saints and shipwrecks. One of the book’s most distinctive features tells how the author took part in one of the National Trust’s most successful initiatives, termed Enterprise Neptune; how it was conceived and how it has led to the acquisition of more than 775 miles of shoreline to be conserved for the nation in perpetuity. The book also explores how famous artists, writers, poets and composers have been inspired by coastal scenery to produce some of their most important works. And what does the future hold? What changes can we expect along our shores? The concluding chapters examine the escalating threats resulting from increasing human occupation and development and from the impact of climate change. They outline some of the ways in which the National Trust is responding to these challenges and how it is planning to manage our coastal environment for many years to come.