News

Coast Path diverted due to unstable cliffs

A 200-metre section of the South West Coast Path near West Bay has been closed due to a growing crack in the clifftop.

Over the last three weeks, this large section of the cliffs in West Dorset has been monitored as it shows signs of steadily collapsing down onto the beach and sea below, with a 90m long crack seen in the clifftop.

Access to this section of cliff and Coast Path has now been closed to the public and walkers are also being asked to avoid walking along the beach below the cliffs in this area.

Tara Hansford, Dorset Council Countryside Access Development Officer, explained: “Movement in this section has rapidly increased, affecting an extensive area with more cracks appearing and sections collapsing, resulting in extremely dangerous, uneven and unstable ground. All the signs indicate that this whole area of cliff is vulnerable and sections are regularly falling.

“Fortunately, the adjacent landowner – Highlands End Holiday Park – have kindly granted permissive access so that the public can still follow the Coast Path and enjoy the cliff top views this section provides. They recognise this stretch is particularly important for local people from Eype and West Bay who regularly walk this path connecting the two communities. 

“We just ask that walkers are mindful that they are walking within the boundary of the holiday park and keep to the permissive path, with dogs on leads at all times.”

    

Walkers can find a map detailing the permissive diversionary route at either end of the closed section of path. The route is also signed along its length and easy to follow on the ground. 

Walkers with mobile phones are being advised to take a photo of the map on the closure notices to use as a reference while continuing along the route, ensuring they can swiftly get from A-to-B!

Sam Scriven, Jurassic Coast Trust, said: “The cliff fall here is still developing and it’s hard to predict how big it will eventually get. There is a large section failing and, when it finally does go, it could be very sudden. It's vital that people stick to the permissive route and do not go near the cliff edge.”

West Bay to Eype 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
  • 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

Published on: Nov. 12, 2020