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Beach drops by several feet as first wave of bad weather devours coast

PUBLISHED: 08:03 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:13 31 October 2018

Coastal erosion along the Norfolk coast between Caister and Winterton.
Winterton beach
Picture: Nick Butcher

Coastal erosion along the Norfolk coast between Caister and Winterton. Winterton beach Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Embattled beaches are taking a blasting from high winds and tides, with one stretch reportedly losing several feet in just one day.

Coast protection engineers say the situation is complex with some areas faring better than others as the weather changes.

Overall, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s Bernard Harris said the sands had not built up as much as their communities would have liked following the catastrophic erosion streak backed by the ‘Beast from the East’ earlier this year.

He said beaches were expected to record some losses on Tuesday and that he was keeping a close eye on the situation in case people needed moving for their own protection.

The number of households directly at risk, however, was less than last year after cliff-hanging homes at Hemsby were demolished.

At Winterton several feet had reportedly been lost in one day with the tank traps completely exposed.

And while the Dunes Cafe is said to be safe its owner Jan Bowles is urging people to stay off the defences and putting up more warning signs to make sure the risks of messing with soft sandy cliffs are understood.

Before and after - a stretch of beach between Winterton and Horsey which has replenished since being stripped by the Beast from the East Photo: ArchantBefore and after - a stretch of beach between Winterton and Horsey which has replenished since being stripped by the Beast from the East Photo: Archant

Parish council chairman Eric Lund said nowhere else in Britain was considered as dynamic and volatile as the stretch that included his village.

He said: “We had all these problems towards the end of the winter into the spring and if we are getting problems now it is not a good sign.

“We can only take it day by day because that’s how the weather is.

“In the last 12 months it has been more dynamic than in the last few years.”

Meanwhile there were no alarm bells ringing in Hemsby just yet according to borough councillor and beach cafe owner James Bensly, although the beach was still very low.

“We will be starting this storm season at a lower base,” he said.

“The beach is a natural barrier, the higher the beach the more protection the dunes have got.

“When the beach is at an angle it takes the sting out of the waves.

“We have to find a way of to catch all the material so we do not lose it, and for me that is fish-tail groynes.”

A stretch of beach at Somerton Gap between Winterton and Horsey was completely stripped of all its sand earlier this year.

Where there were only dark pools amid clay bedrock tonnes of sand has been put back by the sea and huge rocks that were exposed now buried deep once more.

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