Erosion: Coastwatch tower with 'only weeks left' to cease operations

Coastwatch at Winterton has launched an online donation page to help fund its move.

The Coastwatch tower at Winterton is being dismantled as barrelling erosion threatens the coast. - Credit: Liz Coates

Coastwatch volunteers are preparing to dismantle their landmark tower at Winterton and will suspend wave-watching work on Thursday.

Following the fate of the Dunes Cafe which was torn down in December 2021, the tower will be craned off site and put into storage.

Unit manager Roger Rolph said it would be a sad day but the rate of erosion had made it impossible for them to stay.

Andrew Sharples (left) and Roger Folf, who is the leader of the CoastWatch in Winterton. Picture: Co

Andrew Sharples (left) and Roger Rolph, who is the leader of the Coastwatch in Winterton which has been made homeless by erosion Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Volunteers will be ending their shifts at 4pm on Thursday (February 10) and begin the process of taking down aerials and packing away equipment.

A new site has yet to be indentified.

Mr Rolph said there needed to be enough land left to bring in trucks and cranes to lift the mobile unit that sits on a concrete pad and was designed for the site.

He estimated there had been a  Coastwatch-type service on the spot since the 1700s.

"We have literally weeks. With the next set of high tides it could take a bit more off the village and then we will be in trouble," he said.

As apart of his role, the 71-year-old records and details suspicious activity which could involve dr

The station is now an estimated 30ft from the cliff edge due to rapid erosion which has already claimed the cafe. Picture: Andrew Sharples - Credit: Archant

"It  is going to be a sad day," he added.

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He said the unit was devised and purchased by Alan McMurchie, who volunteered at the previous site which had to be taken down in the 1990s due  to erosion.

The rapid pace of erosion had seen nearly half the car park lost in the 14 years he had been on lookout.

From this tower, Andrew Sharples pays close attention to ships that pass by to make sure they can b

From this tower, Andrew Sharples pays close attention to ships that pass by to make sure they can be easily pin-pointed if they vanish out at sea. Picture: Andrew Sharples - Credit: Archant

David Levey who has been volunteering for four years was working his last shift on Tuesday.

"We are very sad," he said.

"I am going to miss it  until we start again."

winterton dunes

Drone pictures by Simon Taylor show the clifftop in December 2021. Since then erosion has taken it much further back the road now ending just south of the parking kiosk. - Credit: Simon Taylor

The charity has launched an appeal to help it with the costs of moving.

So far around £1,000 has been raised with Mr Rolf hailing the public response.

However, it  remained to be seen whether they could re-use the old building on a new site or if they would need a new cabin.

Winterton has suffered at the hands of surging seas, the rate of erosion being beyond what anyone was expecting in the last few years.

Without the landmark Coastwatch tower the landscape will be unrecognisable from what it was a few years ago.

To support Winterton coastwatch's relocation bid visit their gofundme page.