Warning over coastal path in Cornwall
Cornwall Council is advising residents and visitors to take extra care when using the coast path and beaches in Cornwall over the next few months.
The advice follows an unprecedented period of wet weather which has resulted in more than 35 significant cliff falls around Cornwall’s coast line since last November.
The Council currently has 18 footpath closure orders in place on the South West Coast Path alone as the popular attraction heads into its 40th anniversary year.
“Council staff can’t recall a more challenging time for the management of beaches or footpath network across Cornwall” said David Attwell, Cornwall Council’s Principal Countryside Officer. “We have seen repeated cliff falls as a result of the severe weather conditions we have experienced throughout November, December and January, resulting in many paths being closed or diverted inland”.
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Although the Council has been responding to a wide range of incidents across the whole of Cornwall, the area of the south coast from the Lizard through to the Tamar has been particularly badly hit.
Richard Hocking, the Council’s Soils and Materials Engineer and his team has been kept very busy inspecting the recent spate of cliff falls. “The types of cliff falls we are seeing have been exacerbated by the high rainfall over the past 12 months” he said. “In some areas we have witnessed catastrophic collapses whilst in others the whole cliff line has merely slumped”.
“It’s important to remember that these cliff falls can occur at anytime and I would encourage the public to be vigilant and to take care when in the vicinity of cliffs”.
The Council is currently collating a list of damaged sites across the Transport, Waste and Environment Service which are expected to cost millions of pounds to repair. Whilst a programme of repairs is due to start in the next few weeks it is anticipated that some sections of the coast path will unfortunately remain closed into the main holiday season.
Members of the public using the countryside are reminded to take extra care and avoid straying from the coast path or wandering near the cliff edge. A general warning has also been issued to beach users to be cautious under or near cliffs following a recent failure at Whipsideery near Newquay.
Bert Biscoe, the Council’s portfolio holder for Transportation, Highways and the Environment, is supporting the Council’s advice. “I walked with my wife from North Cliffs to Godrevy on Saturday 2nd February” he said. “It was a lovely day. We saw evidence of massive cliff-falls and were very careful to enjoy our day out with common sense and caution. Please do the same. “
“Current conditions are difficult and volatile and recent weather has affected stability in some places. Please let us know if you see a fall or cracks - and keep an eye on kids and dogs. Thanks.'
Anyone who wishes to report a problem on the coast Path or a beach should phone 0300 1234 202.