Experts say coast remains a danger

The cliff fall at Cain’s Folly, Charmouth Beach

The cliff fall at Cain’s Folly, Charmouth Beach

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

EXPERTS are warning that more people could be killed by rockfalls along the Jurassic coast.

The warning comes as the second anniversary of the death of tragic Charlotte Blackman approaches.

The 22-year-old holidaymaker was buried under a 400-tonne rockfall near Burton Bradstock .

Phil Davidson, geologist at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, said that after yet another rockfall near Charmouth repeated warnings and safety advice are being ignored.

He said: “The bottom line is they could die and people have. You wouldn’t be out of order saying that to people. Even the size of a golf ball falling from the cliffs could be fatal.

“Really people are putting their lives on the line going too close.

“It doesn’t matter how many signs you put up people will either not read them or ignore them. Nobody wants a repeat of what happened to Charlotte.

“That’s why the county council and the Jurassic coast team employ the fossil warden for the school holidays to walk up and down the beach in Charmouth and Lyme to basically talk people down or away from the cliffs.”

Safety calls are going unheeded with people even pitching tents right next to rock falls .

Mr Davidson added: “If something has fallen that day or the day before the area that has fallen is going to be very weak and prone to more falling down.

“In some cases you get people wanting to go and look even as it is tumbling and falling down. It is lunacy.”

He said the very wet winter, followed by warmer weather and severe storms had exacerbated the situation.

The cliff at Cain’s Folly near Charmouth is crumbling, experts have said. The Charmouth cliff fall was witnessed by members of the public on the beach who alerted Portland Coastguard shortly after 6pm on Sunday.

Lyme Regis Coastguards rushed to the scene to check nobody was injured and advised members of the public that cliffs in the area remain unstable, and to adhere to safety advice signs.

It was after the wet weather in the summer of 2012 that 22-year-old holidaymaker Charlotte Blackman was killed by a rockfall. At the inquest her father Kevin said the fall happened ‘in the blink of an eye’.

Two days after Miss Blackman died, another ‘sizeable’ landslip also took place 1,000 metres east of Charmouth.

Cain’s Folly, part of the cliff face at Stonebarrow Hill, is about 140 metres high but 50 metres lower than neighbouring Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the south coast.

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