Coastal communities, such as those around Devon and Cornwall, have experienced significant social and economic change during the last 30-40 years. Port cities have experienced dereliction from the consequences of the globalisation of trade, changing shipping techniques and deindustrialisation. Military sites, such as dockyards and naval bases, have been released from service as a result of the ‘peace dividend’ and defence spending reviews. Seaside resorts have suffered from an outdated infrastructure and increasing competition, while coastal fishing and market towns have been affected by changing agricultural and fisheries policies. Coastal settlements generally rank among the most deprived areas, albeit with substantial inequalities in population structures, employment, health, education and skills. Despite the significance of these challenges, coastal communities have often been been described as the ‘least understood problem areas’ and have been neglected in public policy. Coastal areas are, in addition, especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which threatens significant centres of population, infrastructure and industry, as well as important natural habitats and heritage. Regeneration strategies can be thwarted by the peripherality of coastal settlements, combined with poor transport connections, reduced catchment areas and difficult or protected topographies.