THREE cliff falls in Sidmouth within 24 hours

The cliffs in Sidmouth have yet again toppled into the water, creating a huge cloud of dust. Owl has also received reports that there have been at least two falls seen in Budleigh.

See the devonlive article for photos.

Chloe Parkman www.devonlive.com 

Three cliff fall’s have occurred within the space of just 24 hours in a Devon town.

The cliffs in Sidmouth have yet again toppled into the water, creating a huge cloud of dust.

Two of the landslides occurred today (May 27), one during the morning at around 8.45am and the other around 2pm.

Residents are remain on the beach, despite being so close to the dangerous crumbling cliffs.

Yesterday (May 26), a key-worker witnessed a landslide during his shift around midday.

Local resident Ray Moseley, 58, said: “I was walking along York Street with my wife this morning.

“We stopped to have a look around and take in the view when we notice a large cloud of dust.”

The 58-year old is unsure as to how much of the cliff face toppled due to being a fair distance away from the scene, but believes that it must have been a substantial amount to create a plume of dust.

There have been several reports of Sidmouth’s cliffs crumbling into the sea this year.

Ray adds: “If you look closely, there are cracks all the way along the cliff face.

“It is ridiculous the amount of people you see walking near to them, they just ignore the signs.  It is extremely dangerous.

“I think it is only a matter of time until something really serious happens.”

Clear signage is displayed near to the cliffs, warning the public of the dangers.

Another resident, Verity Graves-Morris, 37, was on the beach when she witnessed a cliff fall in Sidmouth at around 2pm today (May 27).

Verity said: “I heard a grumbling noise.

“When I turned around there was a large cloud of red dust.

“Other people on the beach also saw it, but they have continued to walk around near to where it fell.”

A spokesperson for East Devon County Council (EDDC), said: “It is not physically possible to stop the public entering East Beach below the cliffs, however to gain access they must pass several warning signs advising them of the danger and lack of an alternate exit point.”

Ian Barlow, Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, said: “At this time of year as the cliff dries out it is very usual to have more falls which we are now experiencing.

“Until EDDC Beach Management Committee are able to put the larger plan into place to protect the cliffs we would, in my opinion, support emergency actions to help slow the natural process.

“However, to date no emergency action plans have been proposed by them.”

A spokesperson for EDDC said: ““Cliff falls are a natural and unpredictable occurrence along the East Devon coast, this is because the rock from which the cliffs are formed is soft and therefore prone to rock falls and landslides, which can happen at any time, although periods of heavy rainfall such as the wettest February on record and now a long dry period, can cause an increase rate of falls.

“The Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) scheme aims to reduce the risk of flooding to Sidmouth by maintaining the standard of defences along Sidmouth Beach, and to reduce the rate of erosion to the cliffs to the East of the town (and therefore the rate of exposure of the East side of Sidmouth to coastal conditions).

“It cannot , however, stop cliff falls. In fact, many of the recent cliff falls are beyond the area the BMP will protect, occurring further East on National Trust land.”

A Beach Management Scheme for the town which aims to protect Sidmouth’s crumbling cliffs is in place.

The scheme which costs somewhere in the region of £8.7million, is now moving to the next stage after the funding gap was bridged earlier this month.

Ian Barlow adds: “For now the simple message is unchanged from previous years keep off east beach it is dangerous .

“We are lucky to have miles of beaches around with the best water quality available for people to enjoy the seaside safely even with social distancing!”