Enormous sand dune 'eating' houses, forest and roads in South West France

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Enormous sand dune 'eating' houses, forest and roads in South West France

The Great Dune of Pyla isn't just the largest sand dune in Europe - it's also a sand dune that's rapidly moving inland, 'swallowing' houses, trees and roads in its path.

According to the Daily Mail, the dune, also known at the Great Dune of Pilat, is located on the Atlantic coast in La Teste-de-Buch, around 60km south west of Bordeaux.

It measures 500 metres in width, is three kilometres long and rises to a height of 107 metres above sea level.

For anyone brave enough to take on the challenge of climbing it, the views of the sea coast, the Pyrenees and the pine trees of the Les Landes forest are amazing.

But it's also moving inland at a reasonably rapid rate.

According to the BBC, the westerly Atlantic winds have eroded sand from the sea-facing side and deposited it on the land side.

The dune is slowly migrating away from the coast, covering the pine forest that flanks it.

According to Amusing Planet, it has even engulfed houses and roads. The site describes its rate of movement as "discontinuous", saying: "Sometimes it moves fast (10 metres in a year) and sometimes very slow (less than a metre). During the last 57 years, the dune has moved some 280 metres giving an annual displacement of 4.9 metres per year."

But, thanks to its spectacular size and beauty, the dune attracts around one million visitors a year, according to the Amusing Planet.

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