Cliff Fall Forces Closure of Ladram Bay Beach

A popular tourist destination, Ladram Bay beach near Sidmouth on the Devon south coast, found itself at the centre of attention this Bank Holiday Weekend, but not for the reasons visitors had hoped.

Following a cliff fall in the early hours of Sunday, May 5th, Ladram Bay Holiday Park, the beach’s owners, made the decision to shut down access to the beach as a precautionary measure.

The Incident

Ladram Bay beach Devon England UK with red sandstone rock stacks located between Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth and on the Jurassic Coast

Thankfully, no injuries were reported from the cliff fall, which occurred around 7 am.

However, a significant portion of rocks collapsed onto boats and stand-up paddle boards moored along the beach.

Pictures and videos shared on social media show the magnitude of the cliff fall, with large rocks hanging precariously above, posing a potential danger to anyone below.

Safety Measures

In response to the incident, Ladram Bay Holiday Park promptly erected barriers along all access roads leading to the beach to prevent unauthorized entry.

Additionally, the park issued a warning message on social media, informing guests and the public about the closure and assuring them that the beach will remain off-limits until geological experts assess the safety of the cliffs and the surrounding area.

Previous Incidents and Coastal Risks

Cliff falls are not uncommon along the Jurassic coast in East Devon (where Ladram Bay is located).

In March, a similar incident occurred in Sidmouth, with eyewitnesses recounting rocks the size of cars tumbling onto the beach below.

Coastal scientist Vicky Walkley warns that cliff falls can happen at any time, not just during stormy weather.

Factors such as heavy rainfall and warm sunshine can weaken the cliffs, increasing the likelihood of collapses.

The effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and wetter winters, further exacerbate the risks of cliff erosion and collapse.

Staying Safe

Stunning Cliffs. Photo taken from the top of Jacobs Ladder. Far reaching views towards Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth

While enjoying coastal areas like Ladram Bay, it’s essential to remain vigilant and aware of the potential dangers posed by cliff falls.

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Observe Warning Signs: Heed any warning signs or barriers indicating the risk of cliff falls and avoid entering restricted areas.
  • Keep a Safe Distance: Maintain a safe distance from the base of cliffs, especially during periods of heavy rainfall or strong winds.
  • Avoid Standing Under Cliffs: Refrain from standing directly beneath cliffs or overhangs, as these areas are particularly susceptible to rockfalls.
  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on local weather conditions and any alerts issued by authorities regarding coastal hazards.
  • Report Hazardous Conditions: If you notice any signs of instability or potential hazards along the coast, report them to local authorities or beach management staff.

By staying informed and exercising caution, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of coastal areas like Ladram Bay while minimizing the risks associated with cliff falls.

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