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Dog owner's plea for cliff warning signs
THE owners of a dog who plunged 40 feet into a gulley have called for signs and fences to be installed warning of the dangers.
Mark and Tessa Saunders-Barwick were holidaying in the area and were walking their four-year-old collie, Poppy, from Seaton to Lyme Regis.
When they were two miles west of the town and walking through woodland, Poppy ran off, chasing after a pheasant and plummeted over the edge of a deep ravine.
Now, Mrs Saunders-Barwick is calling for the installation of signs warning of the crevasses and fences to be erected at the edges of the hazards to help stop dogs or people falling.
The couple told how they nearly “went over the edge” themselves as they rushed to find Poppy, after they had heard distressed yelps from their pet.
Mrs Saunders-Barwick added: “When our dog ran into the woods and couldn’t seem to find her way back to us, we followed her and nearly fell down a crevasse ourselves.
“Luckily my husband spotted one of these drops amongst the undergrowth that camouflaged it and thankfully, stopped me from going any further.”
Mrs Saunders-Barwick said: “We would like to warn fellow walkers about the danger of these unmarked ravines to children and dogs who might run off into the woodland to play.
“Apparently this particular spot is known to have many of these ravines, but there are no warning signs as there would be on a cliff walk if there were subsidence or danger from falling rocks.”
The distraught couple called the coastguard and after four hours the search was postponed because of fading light until the morning, leaving the couple fearing the worst.
In the morning, the Lyme Regis coastguards located the dog and though she was dehydrated and nervous, only escaped with a few cuts and bruises.
“Our experience, thankfully, had a happy outcome although the whole thing was extremely upsetting for my husband and myself,” said Mrs Saunders-Barwick.
“We would like to see our experience turned into a positive outcome with the installation of warning signs in the area at least and, preferably, some form of fencing or barrier around the crevasses.”
Tom Sunderland, senior reserve manager at Undercliff national nature reserve, confirmed the signs at the site were under review.
“There are signs at every entrance point to the reserve warning of the dangers and we are currently reviewing these signs and will hopefully get new ones installed,” he said.