South East Wales

Landslip leaves 15 Barry caravans teetering over cliff

More than a dozen caravan owners have had a lucky escape after a landslip in south Wales left them teetering on the edge of a cliff.

The rockfall happened at Porthkerry Leisure Park, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, at about 20:00 GMT on Monday.

Work is under way to move caravans away from the edge to another part of the site, which has 300 pitches in total.

The Vale of Glamorgan council said it was a "matter of concern" and the authority is investigating.

Coastguards at Mumbles, Swansea confirmed a security guard at the park called on Monday evening to report coastal erosion.

The Barry coastguard team went to the scene and found that nobody was injured or in imminent danger.

The position of the erosion was marked and the incident handed over to the Vale of Glamorgan council.

'Close call'

Carol Jenkins, from Merthyr Tydfil, who has kept a caravan at the Porthkerry site for 13 years, said she had not given a second thought to erosion of the cliffs before this week's landslip.

"I've never been worried about the position of caravan until recently. It didn't enter my head."

She told BBC Radio Wales the caravan park owners had been "very responsible".

"They've acted very quickly," she said. "They're very hard-working park owners and they are going to be moving all the caravans back and we've been told that will be done by the weekend."

Ms Jenkins said it had been a close call, and that her previous caravan at the site had been left dangling off the cliff edge

But she added: "It hasn't put me off being nearer the front because of the views and the scenery is fantastic."

'Very upset'

Caravan owner Edward Nicholls said they were about 4m (13ft) away from the cliff edge before the landslip. There was a small path running between the "vans" and the edge. Mr Nicholls described the gap as "quite an adequate distance".

Margaret Davey, who has owned one of the caravans near the cliff-edge for 20 years, said she was "very upset about it all".

"I was a bit surprised when I got the call last night," said Mrs Davey.

"They're working on it now. They're moving the caravans back from the front row and we'll see what happens then," she added.

Another caravan owner told BBC Wales that 15 caravans were left precariously close to the edge of the cliff following the landslip.

"I wasn't at the park at the time, but having seen aerial footage since it's quite frightening. It happened quite suddenly."

Doug Davies, who owns a caravan further inland, said the landslip was about 10ft (3m) wide and 200 yards (180m) long.

He said: "The front of the cliff has just fallen away. A crack has appeared and all the wind and the rain has got down behind it, and washed it all away."

'Too dangerous'

A woman caravan owner, who did not want to be named, said: "The caravans that are on the edge of the cliff are actually over the edge of the cliff.

"They're fetching them back as far as they could just to make them safe. It's the only thing they can do at the moment. They're all cordoned off, they are not letting anybody near it.

"Most of [the owners] are away and as soon as they found out they came down straight away, but they can't go in the caravans.

"They can't even empty them or take anything away - it's too dangerous."

Miles Punter from the council said: "Any significant rock fall or incident of coastal erosion is clearly a matter of concern and we are currently investigating this particular incident."

He added that while the council had a role in monitoring the coastline in its area, the responsibility for protecting private land and property along the coastline lay with the relevant land or property owners.

"The council has adopted a 'Shoreline Management' plan for this section of the coast which suggests that any repairs to cliffs or the introduction of any built sea defences would be inappropriate, recommending instead, 'no active intervention'," Mr Punter added.


"Our officers will however assess the current site risks from this recent occurrence and advise the landowners of any remedial works that may be necessary, including those that my be required to protect users of the beach."

"In the first instance however, it's clear that moving the 15 or so caravans that are within 40 feet of the landfall edge is the priority."

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns said: "I was shocked to hear the news about the landfall, but so pleased that no one was hurt - it must have been a really frightening experience for those staying on the caravan park."

He said he would be contacting the land owners, council and the Environment Agency to find out what remedial works might be needed to safeguard residents and the public who use the beach.

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