STUDLAND beach has been hit hard by a ‘perfect storm’ of weather conditions which caused significant erosion in just 48 hours.
The dunes lost up to two metres at points leaving four foot sheer drops and the sand levels have dropped noticeably, exposing long unseen structures, following the heavy weather on Friday December 14 and Saturday December 15.
Emma Wright, operations manager for Studland, told the Echo the extreme high tides combined with a south easterly wind and storm surges had taken their toll on the beach.
“These three conditions coming in at the same time, combined with a huge amount of rainfall as well – it’s a combination of factors which have led to this.
“In some areas the dunes have receded one and a half to two metres. You can clearly see the sand level has dropped and you can see structures which haven’t been visible for several years.
“The dunes have sheared off, which is what we call cliffing, leaving a high blunt end to them – but that will soften over time.
“It’s quite noticeable at the moment but we’re hoping the sand will come back to the beach again – at the moment it’s circulating around the bay.”
She added: “It depends on the tide conditions, but we hope quite a bit will come back in the next six months – not all of it – but a lot of it will hopefully come back, and rebuild the damaged parts.”
Marine Consultant Jonathon Pearce from Corfe Mullen walked from Middle Beach along to Sandbanks Ferry on Sunday and saw the beach completely submerged due to the heavy weather.
“I’ve never seen so much of the dunes so undercut and cut away – there was no beach at all for our whole walk.
“The tide was pretty high – but my wife and I grew up around here and this was the first time ever I have had to walk on the dunes.”
The beach has had a long history of erosion – the beach huts there were moved three times over 25 years as the sea encroached. Back in 2008 The National Trust adopted a policy of managed realignment – giving up the battle with the sea.
It meant the end of groynes and other manmade beach-saving devices.
Instead they move their structures – such as beach huts and slipways – back in line with the natural coastal processes changing the face of the beach.