Fears for the cliffs in Budleigh as ‘protective pebble barrier washes away’

PUBLISHED: 10:30 04 January 2016

The beach on the west side of Budleigh beach

The beach on the west side of Budleigh beach


A Budleigh Salterton resident has warned that the town’s towering sandstone cliffs are more vulnerable than ever - after a five-foot pebble barrier, which used to protect them from the sea, has been washed out to sea.

Massive storms hit Budleigh Salterton two years ago, causing many of the pebbles on the west side of the town’s seafront to be washed away.

This left the base of the cliff alongside East Devon Golf Club vulnerable to erosion, so the club relocated some of the finishing holes on the course further inland.

The redesigning of this section of the golf course allowed the East Devon Coastal Path to be shifted inland due to fears about the cliff being eroded.

Now concerned resident Peter Whitelaw says a five-foot-deep bed of pebbles, which used to offer some protection to the foot of the cliffs, has disappeared completely.

He believes the beach erosion means there is no longer a pebble barrier to stop the sea hitting the base of the cliffs to the west of Steamer Steps and he fears the sandstone cliffs are being destroyed.

Peter said: “The destruction of the beach is frightening and the rate at which it is disappearing is alarming.

“It is heartbreaking to see the beach being eroded at such an alarming rate - and the storms of two years ago started the rot.

“The first few layers of pebble were washed out to sea, never to return, and this weakened what was left behind.

“Gradually, over the past 24 months, smaller storms have continued to erode the beach.

“This has taken just two years and, at the moment, it is out of sight and not apparent - starting around 800 yards along the beach and continuing all the way to the Exmouth holiday park on top of the cliffs.

“My prediction – I would give the rest of Budleigh beach around 10 years before it too goes - completely.”

East Devon district councillor for Budleigh Salterton Tom Wright said the movement of the tide did cause the cliff to be eroded.

He said: “It is a fact that the action of the water nearby moves the pebbles from west to east.

“No doubt pebbles have been moved from the area near East Devon Golf Course.

“Now the high tide frequently reaches the cliff face – that is just a fact of nature.

“I walk up and down the seafront once a day and the pebbles change on a frequent basis.”

What do readers think? Should action be taken to try to protect Budleigh’s famous red cliffs? Email exmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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