Links of Noltland is located on the exposed north coast of Westray. It lies within a stretch of coastline which has been termed as 'high energy' and is subject to severe erosion. In the past the site was covered by windblown sand up to 6m deep. This sand was in turn covered by grasses.
It was always the case that there would be occasional 'blow outs', where the protective covering of vegetation was stripped off by winter storms or animal action. The wind would then scour out sand from the exposed area, leaving a hole in the dune system. The hole would, however, eventually be filled in by more sand blown inland from the beach and the dune would slowly recover.
In the last thirty or so years these blow outs have tended not to recover but to develop and grow. This erosion has been particularly rapid over the last ten years and now the entire landscape is under threat and the archaeology is being actively damaged. The erosion is so bad that it is feared that the archaeological deposits will be entirely destroyed within a short period.
The erosion is not localised but part of a large scale process which spreads for c.1km along Grobust bay.
It is for this reason that excavations began at Noltland in 2007.