Popular Ladram Bay beach shut after 'significant' cliff fall

A popular beach has had to be shut down this Bank Holiday Weekend following a cliff fall. Ladram Bay beach near Sidmouth on the Devon south coast, was closed as a precaution by owners Ladram Bay Holiday Park following the incident in the early hours of this morning (Sunday, May 5).

The cliff fall, in which thankfully no-one was hurt, is understood to have happened at around 7am. A large area of rocks collapsed onto boats and stand-up paddle boards moored up onto the beach below. Barriers have since been put up along all access roads to the beach to stop anyone from going on it.

Pictures and videos of the cliff fall sent in to DevonLive show the extent of the cliff fall including larges rocks 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 until the safety of the iconic cliffs and Jurassic coastline had been assessed.

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Ladram Bay Holiday Park has also put out a warning message to its customers on social media. The message reads: "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."

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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 and 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, so it's important that everyone is aware of these risks when visiting the coast."