A landowner whose beach was thrust into the national spotlight has sought to defend his position, stating he is unable to stop people visiting the area.

As reported, Durdle Door beach, which was rammed at the weekend, was the scene of a major rescue operation after people were injured jumping off the stone arch.

Despite warnings to stay away, thousands of people returned to the spot the following day.

It has prompted some to call for the beaches and car parks to be shut to prevent a huge influx of people coming to the coast.

Now James Weld of the Lulworth Estate has spoken out about the issue in a bid to clarify the estate’s position following the chaotic scenes.

Mr Weld said it is clear that people should have been restricted by the government in making long journeys, as this would have prevented the chaos seen at Durdle Door at the weekend.

Unrestricted travel has ‘undoubtedly led to the unacceptable influx of visitors’, Mr Weld said.

But he stressed that the estate has no power to close the beaches, and it has no means of preventing people from travelling to Lulworth and Durdle Door as this been permitted by the government’s coronavirus regulations since May 13.

He said opening the estate car parks did not attract visitors, rather they were opened to ‘relieve the pressure on the local road network’ as roads clogged up with parked vehicles. Mr Weld suggested however the ‘publicity surrounding the opening of the car parks undoubtedly added to the number of visitors’.

On the subject of beach safety, he said: “The estate maintains signage on all sites advising visitors of the danger of the sea, cliffs, and the use of disposable BBQs, particularly in the current dry conditions.

“The estate staffs all sites and where possible attempts to manage access, although we are physically and legally unable to prevent visitors accessing the beaches or climbing cliffs; we advise of the dangers of both including the dangers of Covid-19 and that social distancing is not always possible.”

Mr Weld concluded: “The Lulworth Estate is not responsible for government policies regarding Covid-19 or the legal access to public highway and public areas; we can only respond to the numbers that arrive and our staff have worked hard to manage this influx and clear up after them with little positive assistance or input from local authorities.”

* As reported, Dorset Council is meeting with others to agree a plan which it hopes will help manage the huge visitor numbers to the Lulworth area.

One of the options is to treat each day as it would a major event, which might include measures like traffic management and marshalling around the local area.