Beach-goers warned about dangers of exploring ‘dens’ on erosion-hit stretch

The erosion at Winterton. Picture: Simon Carter

An urgent safety warning has been issued to people using an erosion-scarred stretch of beach as a potentially deadly playground.

The erosion at Winterton. Picture: Simon Carter

It comes after high tides and winds took a great chunk out of Winterton pushing the beach back, and creating near vertical drops of up to 20ft.

The Dunes cafe owner Jan Bowles said it was “horrendous” the way some people were clambering over and exploring the new features including holes large enough to climb into, chiselled out of soft sand and liable to collapse.

This week action is being taken to minimise the effects of the erosion which have stunned locals and become a visitor attraction in themselves.

Heavy equipment will be on the sands all week as material taken from Great Yarmouth’s North Beach is deposited.

Eroded sand bank at Winterton beach.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Eroded sand bank at Winterton beach.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The work is being paid for by the cafe to secure its future as well as make the area safe.

She said: “At the moment we are endeavouring to secure the cafe and car park for the future and our main endeavour is to make the beach safe.

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“It is horrendous to see what people are doing, climbing in and out of the holes.

“I have experts working on it and am taking advice.

“Hopefully the beach will replenish naturally to some extent, but what we need to do is fill in the gaps.”

Bernard Harris, coast protection engineer with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said it was the most significant erosion for some years.

Whereas Hemsby had taken the brunt before, it was Winterton that had suffered most this time, he said.

The erosion had been caused not by a single storm but by a sustained period of easterly winds and then some rough weather putting energy into the waves and taking them right up the beach.

In places the erosion had reached the dune face with almost a vertical edge, he said.

The area in front of the cafe is part of a ness formation comprising a promontory or headland which juts out into the sea and is vulnerable to change.

Meanwhile the beach to the south is unaffected and the cafe and car park are open as usual ready to welcome visitors and their dogs.