Cliffs in West Dorset have been described as a "ticking time bomb" after adverse weather has caused numerous rockfalls across the Jurassic Coast.

On Tuesday, April 9, an estimated 28,000 tonnes of rock fell from the cliff at Burton Bradstock.

It is the third cliff fall in two weeks in west Dorset after rockfalls were reported in West Bay on Good Friday (March 29) and Monday, April 8.

It comes after the county saw half of its annual rainfall fall in the first three months of the year.

Persistent rainfall throughout March has led to another wet month in Dorset with only two days recorded without any rain.

Warning signs are in place to warn people of the risks associated with overhanging cliffs and rockfalls, which pose a danger even at low tides.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Members of the public are advised not to walk close to the cliffsMembers of the public are advised not to walk close to the cliffs (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

The area has seen an increased number of rockfalls on the coastline in recent times. 

The rockfall is likely to block those walking along the beach - but this has been strongly discouraged due to the risk of repeated falls.

West Dorset photographer Graham Hunt said: “With all of the heavy rain, the rocks are saturated and the waves have undercut the cliffs quite badly.

“It means the cliffs are a ticking time bomb and it is a case of when, not if, they fall.

Mr Hunt also issued a warning for fossil hunters and fellow photographers who may try and seek out the cliff falls for fossils or for a picture.

“You can see in the pictures at Burton Bradstock, there are lots of cracks on the cliff where it has fallen.

“Those loose bits could fall off at any time, any of those bits could hit you.

“The section of coast path which the National Trust moved further back some years ago has now gone, it has completely disappeared.

“It just shows that you have got to respect these cliffs and keep a safe distance away from the edge.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: An aerial view of the cliff fall at Burton Bradstock An aerial view of the cliff fall at Burton Bradstock (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Villager Tom Knapp, 86, who lives in Bindbarrow, estimated around 28,000 tonnes of rock fell from the cliff.

He said: "I walk on the beach about three or four times a day and I talk to walkers who are in the area.

"A lot of people think they are stupid to walk here but often they are on holiday, switched off and unfamiliar with the area.

"We have one sign which says Danger of Death, it is about 30 years old.

"People just ignore an old sign like that and it worries me to death that one day someone will be caught under a rock fall."

Residents have raised concerns about the sheer amount of landslips we are seeing with one describing it as a "record winter" for cliff falls in the area.

The News has reported numerous cliff falls which have taken place along West Bay including a huge rockfall back in January.

A Dorset Council spokesperson said: "Our Rangers have attended the site [West Bay] to check our closure is still in place, although this incident appears to be smaller than previous falls.

"The route is likely to stay closed, so we are asking visitors to the area to please follow the diversion and stick to the waymarked footpath.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: The latest cliff fall at West Bay on Monday, April 8The latest cliff fall at West Bay on Monday, April 8 (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

"The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognised for its outstanding rocks, fossils, and landforms.

"It is a 95-mile long stretch of coastline within the counties of Dorset and Devon. It looks the way it does because of erosion from weather and the sea.

"Rockfalls and landslips are part of the movement which makes up the unique nature of this coastline."

Leo Henley-Lock, Countryside Manager for the National Trust in West Dorset, said: "The coast and cliffs along this stretch of the Jurassic Coast are unstable and naturally liable to landslips and falls at any time without warning. 

"We would urge people to take the time to read warning signs in car parks and footpaths and follow their instructions so they can enjoy the coast safely. 

"People should always stay well back from the cliff edges, whether on or below them, and we ask people not to visit to view the slip as secondary slips may occur without warning."