Bawdsey: Solutions sought as sea approaches defences

The sea defences infront of Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk.

The sea defences infront of Bawdsey Manor, Bawdsey, Suffolk. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A STRETCH of Suffolk beach is in danger of disappearing altogether after being savaged by fierce winds and unrelenting waves in recent months.

Shingle and sand are steadily giving way to the sea below a section of steel piling defence at Bawdsey - creating an almost sheer man made cliff in place of the seashore.

Some ground is even being lost from the landward side of the barricade, and a once well-trodden public footpath has now become a no-go zone.

Experts hope a change in weather might allow the beach to heal itself - but the tide has never crept closer and is expected to continue on its destructive passage towards the sea wall which separates the narrowing beach and the concrete cliffs of Bawdsey Manor.

Freezing temperatures and gusty north east winds have also taken their toll at nearby East Lane, where the Environment Agency (EA) has undertaken minor repairs to ensure people and their property are safe from the threat of tidal flooding.

Meanwhile, the coastal footpath at East Lane was diverted inland several years ago and an emergency protection scheme launched following rapid erosion. Work to protect the cliffs, Martello Tower and two homes was initiated by the East Lane Trust and finished in 2009.

It is hoped a solution can now be reached between authorities and the manor’s owners for the stretch of beach under the cliff face. The EA’s coastal engineer for Norfolk and Suffolk, Gary Watson said: “We have been on site with Suffolk Coastal and the Deben Estuary Partnership to meet the manor’s owners.

Most Read

“Some groyne failures have occurred and the steel sheet pile wall installed by the Ministry of Defence is of some concern.

“We are trying to help the manor owners resolve the situation. The overall erosion trend has meant there is less beach every year.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council said it had been in discussion with the owners of Bawdsey Manor and with other key local partners and was prepared to work with them to consider options and find possible solutions for the problem.

Niels Toettcher, who along with Ann Alexander established the international school at Bawdsey Manor in the 1970s, said: “We hope to come to some cooperative agreement with the authorities. In the end, we think it will be a question of cost but we’re in the very early stages.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter