Beach and dunes depleted by 'massive forces' as high tides hit

The beach and dunes at Winterton have been hit hard by the recent spring tides

The access slope at Winterton has retreated and tides have reach behind the concrete blocks to grab a chunk of dune. The cafe remains open for takeaway under lockdown rules. - Credit: Liz Coates

The first spring tides of the winter have had a dramatic effect at one of Norfolk's most popular sandy stretches.

Dunes and beach at Winterton have been much depleted around the eroding area close to the cafe where the slope to the sands has been all but washed away.

Meanwhile, water has come in behind the concrete blocks, once at the base of the dunes, to tear a chunk away making the wildlife-rich coast more vulnerable.

Winterton beach has been depleted by high tides.

The beach at Winterton has been hit by high tides. - Credit: Liz Coates

Bernard Harris, Great Yarmouth Borough Council's coast protection engineer, said he was keeping a close eye on what was happening and that any data collected would be taken into consideration when planning for the future.

"It is nature and massive forces working there," he added.

Meanwhile the Ness was building up and gradually moving north.

Beach owner Jan Hewitt stressed the cafe and beach car park were unaffected at this time and remained open every day from 8.30-4pm.

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She added the effect of the high tides was more than she would have expected this early in the winter season.

Winterton is a magnet for walkers and seal watchers.

The numbers of people flocking to the village has caused parking gridlock especially in Beach Road, and families clambering over the crumbling dunes have been blamed for adding to erosion.

People are advised to stick to the paths and proper access points.

Such is the popularity of the village Winterton Parish Council has issued a "lockdown statement" via its website.

It states: "It is unsafe to walk on the stretch of beach in front of the café and car park and particularly behind the concrete blocks."

It also advises people to head south towards Hemsby rather than north towards Horsey to avoid the growing seal population - one of Norfolk's most spectacular wildlife sites which draws tens of thousands to the coast every year.

High tides at Winterton have had a damaging impact

Spring tides have made some areas of the beach unsafe to walk on. - Credit: Liz Coates

The spring tides triggered a number of flood alerts particularly around the Broads areas where "tide locking" can be an issue.