Landslip Warnings On Dorset Coast

There are fresh warnings today about landslips on the Dorset coast.

Authorities in Purbeck are reminding residents and visitors to take extreme care along northern sections of Swanage beach due to a continued risk of landslips.

Heavy rain in December led to parts of the cliff becoming unstable with a number of landslips causing debris to fall onto the sea wall and beach.

Further wet weather in January made the situation worse, with significant slippages to the north of Ocean Bay, particularly in the section between Burlington Chine and Sheps Hollow. The sea wall is now impassable beyond Burlington Chine and is likely to remain so for some time.  The ground is waterlogged, making the cliff unstable and at risk of further falls of rock and clay.

Local agencies, including Dorset County Council, Purbeck District Council, Swanage Town Council, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Environment Agency are asking people to take heed of warnings and exercise extreme care along this part of the beach.   

Councillor Bill Trite, Town Mayor and County Councillor, said: "We are very concerned that some people are ignoring the warning signs and getting dangerously close to the highly unstable cliffs.

"The landslips are still active so please be sensible, take notice of the warning signs and keep away from those parts of the beach to which the signs refer."

In some places, high seas have washed away sand levels between the groynes, making them extremely difficult to cross. There is also a danger of people getting stuck in mud that has fallen onto the beach.  For safety reasons it is recommended that the far end of the beach is currently best accessed via the South West Coast Path and Sheps Hollow.

Authorities are stressing, however, that people shouldn't be put off from coming to Swanage.

Councillor Ian Brown, Chairman of the Town Council's Tourism Committee, said: "There is still plenty of beach to enjoy in Swanage, so please don't stay away.  Come and enjoy the surroundings, just don't risk your life or that of your loved ones."