New cliff warning sign in Sidmouth - but no plans to close any beach
PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 September 2016
A new sign on Alma Bridge gives a stark warning of the risks of venturing on Sidmouth's east beach.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) is promoting the message following a series of cliff falls – including one last week described as ‘the biggest yet’.
The bridge has an emergency exit for those venturing along the beach from Salcombe Mouth, but the sign makes clear the reverse trip is dangerous. Despite this, EDDC has no plans to close any of its beaches.
A council spokeswoman said: “We cannot say categorically whether cliffs are safe or not, so it should be assumed that all the cliffs in our area pose a danger as rock falls can occur at any time, so it is important that people remain vigilant and are aware that nature is unpredictable.
“We won’t be closing any of our beaches, as we want people to be able to enjoy these wonderful natural local amenities, which are a feature of the Jurassic coastline.
“Educating people over the dangers that cliffs present is a priority for us and we will keep repeating our warning messages and advice, while continuing to monitor and manage the cliffs in our care.
“Our safety strategy is to position our warning signs at key points near all the cliffs and beaches that we manage, to alert people of the dangers of cliff falls.
“But at some point, people need to take responsibility for their own safety and to heed these warnings.”
She said beach visitors should refrain from sitting at the base of cliffs or climbing on recent rock fall material, and choose a safe beach where there is little risk of a cliff fall.
Photographs by Rob Cox and Guy Russell captured a cliff fall last Friday. Guy described as ‘the biggest one yet’. On the day, thousands of tourists were heading to Sidmouth to watch the Red Arrows and enjoy the regatta weekend.