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Warning issued after people seen climbing rapidly eroding cliffs

PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:06 02 October 2020

Bawdsey Cliffs in April, before much of the rock was eroded over the summer Picture: JACK TURNER

Bawdsey Cliffs in April, before much of the rock was eroded over the summer Picture: JACK TURNER

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These dramatic pictures show the rapid rate of erosion at Bawdsey over the last few months where tonnes of sand, shingle and rock have been falling from the cliffs on a daily basis.

Jack Turner and Louise Goldsmith are regular visitors to Bawdsey Picture: JACK TURNERJack Turner and Louise Goldsmith are regular visitors to Bawdsey Picture: JACK TURNER

Fencing has been installed and signs put in place warning beach-goers of the danger overhead - and now East Suffolk Council has issued a warning after receiving “almost daily” reports of people scaling the cliffs along the Suffolk coast.

The council has launched a campaign to warn of the danger of ignoring the safety measures that are in place up and down the coastline.

The campaign encourages people to visit the Suffolk coast but aims to educate the community of the dangers it may pose.

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In June, sand and shingle has started to fall Picture: JACK TURNERIn June, sand and shingle has started to fall Picture: JACK TURNER

David Ritchie, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: “This is extremely concerning, and we are very worried that people are putting their own safety at risk.

“There are many miles of beautiful coastline in Suffolk to explore but this is also some of the fastest eroding coast in western Europe.

“Our cliffs are soft and sandy, and it is concerning that people are climbing on them or walking close to the base where they may come to harm.”

A spokesman for HM Coastguard added: “It’s understandable that people want to explore the secret gems around our beautiful coastline, but it’s not worth risking your life for.

This picture, taken at the end of September, demonstrates the rate of erosion Picture: JACK TURNERThis picture, taken at the end of September, demonstrates the rate of erosion Picture: JACK TURNER

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to keep back from the edge.”

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Mr Ritchie also said the recent wet and windy weather has accelerated the rate of erosion at Bawdsey - highlighting the dangers the cliff face may pose.

Rapid erosion at Bawdsey Cliffs has meant several warning signs have been placed in the area Picture: SUPPLIED BY HM COASTGUARDRapid erosion at Bawdsey Cliffs has meant several warning signs have been placed in the area Picture: SUPPLIED BY HM COASTGUARD

He added: “The weather we have seen over last weekend means that many parts of our coast have seen more erosion.

“It is even more important to remind people that the barriers and signage warning of hazards at Bawdsey Cliffs are in place to keep everyone safe.”

These pictures taken between April and September by beach walker Jack Turner demonstrate just how quickly the tide is eroding the rock.

He and partner Louise Goldsmith, who live in Tunstall, walk along that stretch of coast regularly, often taking their neighbour’s dog with them.

East Suffolk Council's David Ritchie warned of the dangers of eroding cliffs Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEast Suffolk Council's David Ritchie warned of the dangers of eroding cliffs Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said they have seen debris from concrete pillboxes that has fall onto the beach due to constant erosion.

Over several visits, he took pictures of the cliffs which demonstrate how much of the rock has eroded between April and September.

Mr Turner said: “You can see from start to finish how the shingle has now washed away and has been covered with clay and sand on the beach.

“At high tide, you have that risk of walking close to the cliff.

“We have seen signs of cliff falls - I wouldn’t walk near them. You can walk so close and it’s so unstable.

“There’s always that possibility of children being near them. It’s just about being vigilant.”

MORE: Fresh warning after children seen playing near dangerous cliffs


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