Sunday, 23 December 2012

Update - Swanage Landslip / Cliff

Some photos from this morning's visual assessment. We've included a quick commentary; no we are not geologists or geomorphologists but I hope it is an honest and informative summary.

Whilst the rain has stopped it is apparent that there is still slippage at Burlington Chine. The beach huts are all in place, although there is severe loading of debris over the older huts. A slip of the existing debris is likely to occur during the next heavy rain with further risk of new slippage from the gardens above, including concrete and glass panels.

Burlington Chine

Further northwards there is a significant slump, about 30m inland by 150m in length; the area is very unstable with the slump being liquid mud. Areas of beach have been over-washed with clay which has caused areas of quicksand at the bottom of the slips. 
Under the The Pines

At the Highcliffe there is more washing of debris through new channels in the cliff which has built up behind the railway sleeper wall; this is at load and must be considered a risk in itself. Above there is undercutting of the cliff and potential for a catastrophic failure at some point - maybe this week, maybe  months. Keen eyed readers will see one beach hut to the left moved forward by the debris.


At the 'slip watch site' there is more liquefaction of debris and a large area ready to fall at next rain fall; again there is significant risk of concrete and stone gabions falling from height.

'Slip Watch Area'
There are 5 lines of cordon tape up and signage, however we have had to speak to a dozen or so persons this morning who believe the warnings do not apply to them are solely there for other people / general inconvenience. One person commented it was not 'Police tape' and therefore of no consequence (incorrect), another more polite chap wanted to dig his beach hut out. And yes we will remove all the tape at the end of the closure.

Ultimately the cliff is likely to collapse with no warning and any persons in the wrong place will either be critically injured from falling rock or be buried in mud debris. We don't particularly want to close the walkway but have done for reasons of public safety. 

In the back of our minds is the sad loss of life of a young lady earlier this year due to a cliff collapse near Lyme Regis, and the sad loss of two persons in a mudslide at Beaminster tunnel. To put it in perspective our response time to any incident is likely to be around 8 minutes on scene, but we'd far sooner people stayed away from the marked danger areas.

Thanks for your continued co-operation

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