Life on the edge: Dramatic pictures show scale of erosion at Winterton

Erosion at Winterton 2021

The Norfolk's Edge Airstreams have had to move back from the cliff edge at Winterton four times since March and will be moving again soon. - Credit: Simon Carter

Shocking pictures show the scale of erosion at picturesque Winterton on the front line of the battle against surging seas.

The village has experienced an erosion streak with high tides and strong winds launching a combined assault.

It comes just 11 months after the Dunes cafe was torn down before it collapsed onto the sands below.

Erosion at Winterton November 2021

Twenty years ago the tank traps on the shoreline were at the top of the cliffs with 20m of dune in front of them. Latest drone pictures taken on November 9 2021 show the scale of the latest loss. - Credit: Simon Carter

Now, hard standing and land many metres from where it once stood are suspended on the brink.

For the Airstream cafes the creeping land loss has meant moving four times since they arrived on the site in March for Easter.

The two vans are preparing for a fifth move, co-owner Charles Thurston said, with a likely major relocation to a site behind the car park in the near future.

People at the scene said it was worrying because the winter weather had yet to do its worst.

Winterton erosion 2021

In 1999 satellite images show the tank traps on the clifftop, 50m from the edge. Latest pictures by Simon Carter reveal how much land is lost. - Credit: Simon Carter

The pictures were taken by Simon Carter who launched his drone at 7am on Tuesday morning (November 9).

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A digger was seen working along the clifftop building a ridge to prevent rainwater run-off further damaging the soft, sandy cliffs.

Two weeks ago people were warned to take extra care and police cordoned off the end of the road after a fresh collapse.

Erosion at Winterton November 2021

The coast at Winterton is changing with more land lost from the car park and the end of Beach Road, coming more closely in line with the dunes. - Credit: Simon Carter

Such was the impact of the latest loss - creating 25ft sheer drops in places - James Bensly whose county council ward includes the village called the police and council to make the area safe and provide warning signs.

The latest photographs show the scale of the issue with the landowner having to watch as more land is lost.

The car park and Airstream cafes are open as usual.

Erosion at Winterton November2021

Drone images have captured dramatic changes in the coastline at Winterton as of November 2021. - Credit: Simon Carter

Mr Bensly, whose council ward includes Winterton, said officials from Norfolk County  Council were at the scene on Tuesday (November 9) assessing the situation.

He said they were exploring the possibility of moving the entrance to the car park.

"There is still going to be room for at least 100 cars and people are still going to come to Winterton. If we do not have the car park there the parking in the village is going to be horrendous."

However, he added that any attempt at adaptation would likely be challenged given the sensitive nature of the protected dunes.

Satellite images show at least 50m of rolling dune between the cafe and cliff edge 20 years ago.

All that has been lost with even the Coastwatch lookout facing an increasingly precarious position.

Vice chairman of Winterton Parish Council Nigel Coe said members were supportive and sympathetic to the landowner who was having to deal with the issue on her own.

Erosion at Winterton 2021

Part of concrete pad where the cafe once stood at Winterton is now on the sands after a further collapse. - Credit: Simon Carter

He said the erosion streak came as COP 26 discussed ways of bringing climate change under control and putting the brakes on ever more frequent extreme weather events.

He said: "It is very timely with everything that is going on in Glasgow and all the talk about global warming and rising sea levels.

"As residents its still a long way from the village.

Erosion at Winterton 2021

The Norfolk's Edge Airstreams have had to move back from the cliff edge at Winterton four times since March and will be moving again soon. - Credit: Simon Carter

"But it is not encouraging when you get a great clump of the dunes being washed away.

"It is all getting a bit dicey.

"A long while before it becomes an issue people  far further up the food chain than us will be talking about it.

Erosion at Winterton November 2021

The soft, sandy cliffs have seen a further collapse at Winterton. - Credit: Simon Carter

"We continue  to watch Hemsby with interest and the villages will continue to talk to each other which is important."

Photographer Mr Carter said: "I have been capturing images of this stretch of beach since 2016 and over the past two to three years I have seen a rapid increase in the rate of erosion, especially the area in front of the car park and the former Dunes Cafe."

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said in a statement: "The council are working with the landowners about the fencing at Winterton Beach, with the ward councillor proposing to fund it from their ward budget."

It is understood the chestnut paling will help to provide safe routes to the beach.


Erosion at Winterton

Dramatic changes are underway at Winterton, a Norfolk erosion hotspot, where land at the end of beach road is being grabbed by the wind and waves. - Credit: Simon Carter

Erosion at Winterton November 2019

The Norfolk's Edge Airstreams have already had to move four times since arriving on the clifftop at Winterton in March 2021. The footings they first occupied have long disappeared. - Credit: Simon Carter

Erosion at Winterton November 2021

A concrete pad outside a fisherman's hut is now on the sands at Winterton where the coastline is changing and the landowner constantly adapting. - Credit: Simon Carter


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