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Dangerous chasm opens up on popular clifftop walk
PEOPLE are being warned to take care after a treacherous crack opened up on a popular cliff-top walk.
The 6ft deep and 150ft long hole has appeared on a popular stretch of the coast path between Redcliff Point and Bowleaze Cove in Weymouth.
David Fry, of Sutton Poyntz, spotted the coastal erosion when he was out walking with a neighbour.
He said: “We’re used to seeing cracks in bits of cliff but this is dramatic.
“We’ve had so much rain, everything has loosened. It’s terrifying. They’re unstable cliffs. The whole thing has dropped down about 6ft in steps It’s a huge chunk of land.
“In theory it does pose a danger. The biggest danger is to fossil hunters on the beach who have the risk of the cliff coming down on top of them.”
The original coastal path along the cliff has already been moved further inland because of previous erosion on the cliffs east of Weymouth.
He said: “I would tell anybody not to try and clamber on the mud on the cliffs and to take care when walking along the beach.
“People should be walking a distance away from the cliff edge.”
Coun Bruce said he and his wife, borough councillor Hazel Bruce, have taken photos of the cliffs at Bowleaze over the years.
He said: “We regularly take photos so we can compare what has been happening, “We recently alerted the council workmen that they should be careful about cutting the grass and taking heavy machinery on to the cliffs. We were concerned it would erode further.
“We’ve been keen to stop people building even more houses at Bowleaze Coveway where they can add to the load of the cliffs.
“This winter has provided an extra hazard for many cliffs in this area because the ground is becoming waterlogged and when we have a cold snap an area cracks away.
“If you have a house on a cliff or you’re a holidaymaker in view of seeing a cliff collapse it’s worrying. We’ve seen deaths from cliffs collapsing.”
A Portland Coastguard spokesman said coastal path users should exercise caution.
He added: “The only thing we can do is put ‘coastguard aware’ tape on a footpath. A lot of the time people still duck under the tape.”
Numerous landslides due to heavy rain
THERE have been numerous cliff falls in the county in recent months.
Last month landslides closed an access route to the beach at Castle Cove and the footpath above the Western Ledges in the Bincleaves area.
There were further reports of movement along parts of the coast around Furzy Cliffs at Bowleaze Cove, the west of Portland, West Bay, Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
Heavy downpours also caused unstable cliff faces to collapse at Redcliff near Weymouth, Stair Hole near Lulworth Cove and at Swanage last month.
Months of erosion left the South West Coast Path completely closed between Kimmeridge and Chapman’s Pool and above the West Weares near Tout Quarry on Portland.
Coastguards warned members of the public to be aware of possible landslips, rockfalls, mudflows and quicksand – and to obey warning signs.