South West coast paths 'lost to sea' after storm season

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image copyrightJonathan Fairhurst
image captionParts of the coastal infrastructure at Rockham Beach near Woolacombe were ravaged by storms

Sections of coast path have been lost to the sea after a series of "intense" storms hit the UK.

The South West Coast Path Association said various parts of the path had washed away this winter.

In February, there was damage to part of the section of path on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall.

Six named storms have hit the shores since storm season began in October, causing "numerous cliff collapses".

"We've had over 180 incidents that have affected the coast path during the last 8 years", said chair of the association, Ken Carter.

"It really is the intensity and frequency of storms when they hit us - they really do affect the path," he added.

image copyrightJustin Seedhouse
image captionWelcombe Mouth near Bideford is another part of the path that has been affected

The damaged areas were:

  • Cornwall: Landslip above Portreath Beach on the Lizard Peninsula
  • South Devon: Collapse of a section of cliff and the path near to Little Dartmouth
  • Plymouth: Subsidence underneath concrete steps between Turnchapel and Mount Batten
  • Exmoor: Flooding of the path at Hawkcombe Water, Porlock
  • South Cornwall: Cliff erosion taking out two sections of path near Duporth and Charlestown
  • North Cornwall: Cliff erosion requiring diversion of the path near to Bedruthan

The South West Coast Path is a trail stretching 630 miles (1,014km) from Minehead in Somerset, through Devon and Cornwall to Poole in Dorset.

"Nature always finds a way - it's very difficult to stop those natural processes," said Dr Anjana Khatwa, a scientist who advises the group.

"What we have to do is find ways to adapt to future impacts of climate change and help us communicate to understand that change is happening, and what we can do to adapt and become more resilient," she added.

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