Swanage Coastguard witness landslip as large rocks fall on beach

While investigating reports of recent landslips, the Swanage Coastguard team were nearby, when they saw a further serious rock fall at the northern end of Swanage Beach.

Walkers are now being warned to stay away from the cliffs as there’s a high risk of landslips and with freezing weather forecast, it could get worse.

Shep's Hollow landslide
Swanage Coastguard

“Several tonnes of rock fell onto the beach”

On Saturday 6th February 2021 Swanage Coastguard reported:

“As the team approached Sheps Hollow and we were talking to a member of the public, several tonnes of rock fell onto the beach at Groyne 17.

“Due to the height of the groyne, people struggle to get over it and often clamber over some rocks under the cliff, which is very close to the section that gave way.

“We continue to work with Dorset Council to get a section of the groyne removed to make access easier and stop people going to an area which could see debris fall on them.

Landslip by beach huts near Sheps Hollow
Swanage Coastguard
Beach huts affected by landslip near Sheps Hollow
Swanage Coastguard

Taped off the most high risk areas

The coastguard team checked for landslides from Ocean Bay to Sheps Hollow and has taped off the most high risk areas. This includes some wooden beach huts that had been damaged by previous cliff movement but are now getting worse.

The cliffs along the northern stretch of Swanage Beach are prone to landslips and some work, especially under the Pine Cliffs Hotel has taken place to try and stabilise the erosion.

Pines Hotel viewed from Ballard Down
Caroline Abbott
Northern end of Swanage Beach viewed from Ballard Down
Caroline Abbott

“Could see an increase in slips”

The coastguard added:

“This is not unusual at this time of the year and a natural process, however after heavy rain and the report of some very cold weather ahead this could see an increase in slips.

“We ask that people are aware of the risks and not to ignore the tape – it’s there to protect you.”

Official notice of Sheps Hollow closure

Sheps Hollow steps are closed for safety reasons

Last year, in February 2020, Dorset Council closed off the wooden steps from the Ballard Estate down to Sheps Hollow as they were unsafe and collapsing due to the movement of the cliff.

The current closure is in place until May 2021 but they are unlikely to be reopened soon as the cliff remains unstable.

Following the latest landslip, the coastguard said:

“We also remind people that the steps at Sheps Hollow are closed and are unsafe.”

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