Beach shut off on Bank Holiday weekend after cliff fall sees rocks strike boats

A popular beach has been shut down after a cliff fall resulted in boats being hit by rocks. The drama unfolded this morning and also saw stand-up paddle boards, which were moored up onto the beach below, being struck by falling debris.

The incident happened at Ladram Bay beach, near Sidmouth, Devon, at around 7am. Nobody was hurt in the landslide, but barriers have now been erected along all access roads, preventing anyone from gaining access to the beach.

The owners of the beach, Ladram Bay Holiday Park, closed the shorefront as a precaution after a large area of rocks collapsed. Pictures and videos show the extent of the cliff fall.

Large rocks are hanging precariously above and likely to come down too in the near future. A spokesperson for the holiday park said the beach would remain closed to its guests and members of the public pending assessment.

It will be reopened when the iconic cliffs and Jurassic coastline are considered to be safe again. Devon Live reports Ladram Bay Holiday Park has also put out a warning message to its customers on social media.

The message read: "Beach closure notice. As you may be aware for several months we have been monitoring the cliff. Early this morning we sadly experienced a significant cliff fall where thankfully no-one was hurt.

"The beach will now remain closed until further notice. We await guidance from our geological experts and reopen the beach when they say it is safe to do so. We will update you on their findings."

Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat station said it had been made aware of the cliff fall in the early hours of this morning but had not been called out to any incident on the beach.

A spokesperson said: "A customer came into our shop this morning and told us about it. They saw it happen at around 7am this morning which was fortunate as there was no-one about on the beach.

"Some of the rocks fells on top of boats below the cliff and this customer said he was lucky not to have parked theirs just there and it was lucky no-one was underneath it when it came down."

The Ladram Bay Holiday Park spokesperson said: "We are aware of the cliff fall on our and beach. We have shut the beach and access to it is now restricted until we have sought advice from our geology consultant which we are hoping to do as quickly as we can."

With the bank holiday weekend, the park said its cliff fall specialist would likely be on site on Tuesday. It is not the first time cliff falls have happened in the area.

The Jurassic coast in East Devon is notorious for them. In March a large cliff fall took place in Sidmouth with eyewitnesses describing rocks the size of cars coming down onto the beach below.

At the time, Exmouth coastal scientist Vicky Walkley had been sitting on a bench enjoying the view of the coast when she heard a loud rumbling noise.

She looked at the famous red cliff below and saw it collapse onto the beach at the Jacob's Ladder end of the beach. Vicky explained at the time that cliff falls are very difficult to predict.

It can happen at any time not just in stormy weather with big waves, but also on calm sunny days. She warned then: "All the heavy rainfall we've had this winter acts to lubricate the joints in the rock and increase the likelihood of cliff falls.

"Warm sunshine can also heat the rock, causing it to expand - this can trigger cliff falls too. The effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and wetter winters, are likely to accelerate the rates of cliff erosion in future."

She also said it is important that anyone who is due to visit the coast should be aware of the risks surrounding the coastline ahead of their trip.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.