Plea to steer clear of cliffs across West Dorset as more stormy weather is predicted

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: UNPREDICTABLE: The cliffs near Burton Bradstock UNPREDICTABLE: The cliffs near Burton Bradstock

A WARNING has been issued over potential landslips on West Dorset’s beaches as stormy weather continues to batter the south coast.

Winds and prolonged torrential rain over past weeks have prompted experts and the authorities to urge residents to take care if they do go to the beaches over the next few weeks, as the bad weather is set to continue.

The cliffs from West Bay to Burton Bradstock are thought to be at particular risk.

Richard Edmonds, earth science manager for the Jurassic Coast team, said: “This heavy rain does lead to more rock falls and mud slides from the cliff faces all along the Jurassic Coast.

“It is not an exact science to try and predict when or where the next major land movement will be, but there has already been quite a lot of land movement in the past week due to the bad weather we have had. There has been constant rock falls.

“Cliffs are much more prone to falling rocks and mud slides in the bad weather, and all sorts of things tumble down, so people do need to take extra care if they go on the beaches and don't walk at the base of the cliff. People need to be careful and stay away from the cliffs at all times.”

Jamie Staple, the West Bay Coastguard station officer, warned people to be extra careful if they go out on to the beaches in bad weather.

Mr Staple said: “The cliffs are unstable at the best of time but it is obvious in this bad weather they become more unstable, with a lot of rock falls happening, especially at West Bay. I would urge people to be more careful and vigilant when they go on the beaches, and to be aware of potential rock falls and walk well away from the cliff base, to give themselves a fighting chance of surviving if there is a cliff fall. We can't predict when or what will happen but the cliffs are always falling, so be vigilant.”

Mr Staple also had a warning for people who may go ‘storm watch ing’ during the bad weather.

Mr Staple added: “People need to be very careful. Don't go pier running or go near the waves if it's really bad weather because people gave died by being washed off the beaches and the piers in bad weather. If you want to watch the storms and the waves, do so from a safe distance.”

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