People have been urged to stay away after thousands of tonnes of rock has fallen onto Dorset beach in massive chunks
A huge section of a cliff-face on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset has collapsed and fallen onto a beach below, as well as into the sea in what is the biggest UK rockfall in over 60 years.
The rockfall had happened just west of the south coast seaside town of Weymouth and Dorset council have said that more cliff was expected to be lost into the sea, with people being urged to keep away from the area. Parts of the coastal path have also been cordoned off.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Further movement is expected with fresh cracks affecting the fence line but not the coast path. We will monitor over the next few weeks to ensure that any further movement does not affect access.
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“Now the ground is drying out, there is the possibility of more slips and falls and they can happen very quickly. For your safety, keep clear of tops and bases of cliffs when out and about.
About 300 metres of the cliff had been affected when 4,000 tonnes fell away from the cliff in massive chunks, some which were even the size of cars, falling down towards the beach below. The council has tweeted to say: “The path has been cordoned off. The cliff is still very unstable and more is expected to be lost. Please take notice of safety signs.”
On Tuesday, Dorset council has reported that a “substantial” rockfall took place between Seatown and Eype beach, which was soon followed by another cliff collapsing just east of Seatown.
Student geologist Jodie Brewin told the BBC: “It’s to do with re-weathering and erosion that basically falls hand in hand and shapes this coastline.”
Southern England has seen many rock and cliff falls, and in February, the white chalk cliffs that border much of Kent and Sussex had experienced a rise in falls. There were many warnings that the coast could dramatically change by this summer.
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Dorset council said the Jurassic Coast was an “amazing place to visit but it is an ever-changing landscape”.
“Wind, waves and weather all act on the cliffs, which can fall and slip without warning. So stay safe – keep away from the tops or bases of the cliffs and stay off slip material on the beach,” it tweeted.
There was another large rockfall that took place at Eype in November, when a section of cliff on a coastal path collapsed.
In February, a witness had recalled hearing a “loud crack” after a large section of the white cliffs of Dover fell into the sea. David Waterfield was out walking his dog when he heard the noise and then saw “a large amount of cliff” breaking off and falling into the water.