Slapton Ley, a coastal lake in SW England, has been shown by a variety of paleolimnological studies, to have become increasingly eutrophic in the period since 1950 AD. Since that time, intensification of agriculture has resulted in increased erosion of topsoil from fields in the catchment of the Ley. Sediment accumulation rates, as estimated by 210Pb-dating and multiple core correlation of peaks in whole core volume magnetic susceptibility, are equivalent to a catchment erosion rate of 13.4 t km–2 a–1, which figure agrees well with directly monitored data. Diatom and chlorophyll a analysis of the uppermost sediments shows that the Ley has recently experienced a major shift in its trophic status, changing from a clear water, macrophyte lake to one dominated by plankton in a hypertrophic system. This last point is further amplified in the paper by Heathwaite & O'Sullivan (1991).