Lucky photos of Sidmouth fall make scientific website

SIDMOUTH has been getting itself a reputation on the Internet - and it s not for tourism.

SIDMOUTH has been getting itself a reputation on the Internet - and it's not for tourism.

A lucky series of photographs taken of a massive cliff fall at Pennington Point in February 2009 by amateur photographer Eve Mathews, have been featured on the British Geological Survey website ( by geologist Catherine Pennington.

Eve's series of photos, reproduced here with her permission, are a useful scientific record for geologists studying such phenomena and the landslide has been entered into the National landslide Database as ID 16367/1.

Because such falls happen so quickly, Eve was extremely lucky to capture them on her Canon 5D SLR digital camera.

Eve, who lives near the seafront, said: "On the same day a large section had come down at the bottom of the weir of the River Sid and I was showing a friend, then we walked down, just as a few pebbles were coming away.

"I try to take my camera when I go is just a bit of a compulsion with me, I don't really make money out of photography," said Eve, a member of Exeter Camera Club.

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Despite having no motor drive on her camera, Eve was able to capture the drama of the Pennington Point fall, second by second as it happened.

One national newspaper used one of her photos, but Eve had not heard of the BGS website until Catherine contacted her. She is delighted with the use of six pictures that show the sequence of the fall.

It is this that interested the BGS, because Eve's unique record of the fall gives a rare insight to what happens as the cliff collapses.

There have been numerous falls since Eve took these dramatic photographs, leading to locals re-naming Pennington Point as Pennington Cove, but none have been captured on camera to such an effect.

They do remind us all how fragile Sidmouth's red cliffs are and the need for some form of protection to help them remain one of the town's prominent landscapes for the future.