Repairs underway to Swanage beach steps after landslide

A popular path down to the beach at Sheps Hollow in Swanage Bay, that was closed for safety reasons when part of the cliff collapsed, is being reinstated 15 months after the incident.

The steps that lead from the South West Coast Path, down a steep cliff to the beach at the north end of Swanage Bay provide a quick way down to the sea for residents in north Swanage.

Damaged Sheps Hollow steps
Swanage Coastguard

The steps in March 2021 before work started

Sheps Hollow steps being repaired

The steps in May 2021 after work started

Subside down the cliff

In February 2020, just before lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, extensive soil erosion forced Dorset Council to serve a temporary closure notice after the steps and handrail started to subside down the cliff.

The state of the path worsened and in March 2021 Swanage Coastguard warned the public not to attempt to use the route due to the dangers.

Official notice of Sheps Hollow closure

Dorset Council closed the path in February 2020

“It hasn’t been easy”

Now work has begun to reinstate the steps. Dorset Council senior countryside ranger for Purbeck, Katie Black said:

“Work is underway to repair the steps. It hasn’t been easy but we’ve come up with a solution that may not be perfect but should make it safer and the beach more accessible.

“Due to the movement of the cliff, it may last 10 years or just a couple – we just don’t know. But we hope to have it completed in time for the summer half term.”

Sheps Hollow steps being repaired

The handrail has yet to be reinstated

The steep climb is uneven in places

Climbed with caution

The work hasn’t been finished so people are being asked not to use them yet.

Even when completed, the route is very steep and uneven and should be climbed with caution.

Sheps Hollow steps being repaired

The path is a popular short cut from the Ballard Estate down to the north end of Swanage Bay

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