Last week’s rockfall at East Beach, West Bay has once again highlighted the dynamic and potentially hazardous nature of our coastline.
Some 1,000 tonnes of rock fell without warning, directly down onto the beach.
An assessment carried out last Wednesday morning by the Jurassic Coast Trust’s geological expert states that this section of cliff is currently in a condition where it is more susceptible to falls, especially following heavy rain and strong wind.
The public is strongly advised not to walk anywhere near the rockfall or the cliffs. The next rockfall could happen at any time and the stormy winter weather has further increased the likelihood.
Sam Scriven, programme manager for Heritage & Conservation with the Jurassic Coast Trust, who carried out the assessment, said: “As with previous falls, there appears to be a relationship between more severe weather and this particular cliff failure – in this case heavy rain and a strong wind. I don’t think there can be any doubt that this section of cliff in general is currently in a condition where it is more susceptible to falls. My view is that we are experiencing an active period during a long cyclic pattern of erosion and there are many other parts of the cliff face that appear to be similarly vulnerable.”
West Bay is a stunning part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and a popular place to visit. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the area without putting yourself in danger. Wherever you are along the Jurassic Coast, please remember:
- Stay away from the edge of cliffs – admire the view from a safe distance. There are fantastic views from the pier in West Bay
- Never lie or sit under the cliffs – there is very little chance of survival if caught under a rockfall
- Always take note of warning signs – they are there because the dangers are real
- Check tide times before you set off- avoid being cut off by incoming tides
- Be aware of mud flows
- Keep dogs on leads near the cliff edge
Ken Buchan, Dorset County Council’s Coast & Countryside service manager, said: “The Jurassic Coast is a wonderful place to visit, but we urge people to use common sense and caution – stay away from the edge and base of cliffs and always pay attention to warning signs and safety messages.”
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