Step too far: crumbling Durdle Door steps will not be rebuilt for summer

The barricade at Durdle Door

The barricade at Durdle Door

First published in News

TOURISTS could struggle to reach one of Dorset’s world-famous landmarks this summer.

The steps to Durdle Door beach, which have crumbled in extreme weather conditions, will not be rebuilt for the summer 2013 season, Lulworth Estate chief James Weld said.

Mr Weld hit out at a change in law that means the estate is prevented from managing and maintaining access to the beaches at Lulworth.

Access to cliffs and beaches is now looked after by Natural England under the Maritime and Coastal Access Act 2009, which is establishing 4,500km of coastal path around England.

The iconic Dorset landmark is now difficult for visitors to access after this winter’s deluge wiped out the steps to the beach next to the limestone arch.

Mr Weld said Natural England doesn’t have the ‘resources, experience or ability’ to manage a site like Lulworth.

He added that maintenance of coastal access between Portland and Lulworth Cove has an annual budget of £17,000 under Natural England but the estate had been spending up to £45,000 a year to manage and maintain a 6km stretch between White Nothe and Lulworth Cove.

Mr Weld said: “The consequence of the introduction of the Coastal Access Scheme at Lulworth and other places like Lulworth will be to significantly reduce the quality of access, particularly because Natural England do not have the resources, experience or ability to effectively manage popular and much-visited sites such as Lulworth; sadly, within the few short months since confirmation of the scheme at Lulworth, this has proven to be the case.

“Safe access to the beaches is still possible, but not conveniently as it has been in the past and, for the foreseeable future, I cannot see that Natural England will have the resources or the willingness to continue the level of management and maintenance that the estate has striven to provide up to now.”

A barricade closing the path to Durdle Door beach to the public has been put in place by Lulworth Estate workers.

The extreme weather has prompted a warning from Portland Coastguard about treacherous ‘tipping points’ on Dorset’s coastal paths.

The weekend’s deluge, followed by a big freeze, means that parts of the path are more prone to land slips than normal.

Simon Dennis, of Portland Coastguard, said there were ongoing incidents of landslides along the Dorset coast at Swanage, Lulworth, Weymouth, Portland, Golden Cap, Charmouth, Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis and Sidmouth.

He said: “This change in the weather is what we have been concerned about from the off and could be the final tipping point.”

Natural England was not available for comment.

Comments (8)

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8:51am Tue 15 Jan 13

poolemaninscotland says...

What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again
What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again poolemaninscotland
  • Score: 0

9:25am Tue 15 Jan 13

The Liberal says...

poolemaninscotland wrote:
What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again
Why would he be complaining that they don't have to spend the money on path maintenance? If they were in it just for profit, surely he'd be delighted as they'd still be raking in the car park charges without having to spend so much of the revenue?
[quote][p][bold]poolemaninscotland[/bold] wrote: What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again[/p][/quote]Why would he be complaining that they don't have to spend the money on path maintenance? If they were in it just for profit, surely he'd be delighted as they'd still be raking in the car park charges without having to spend so much of the revenue? The Liberal
  • Score: 0

9:26am Tue 15 Jan 13

oneshortleg says...

poolemaninscotland wrote:
What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again
Why should the estate not make money from the car parks it is a business like any other and if he is spending money on maintence good for him. It seems like another government policy gone badly wrong!
[quote][p][bold]poolemaninscotland[/bold] wrote: What Mr Weld fails to mention is that the £45k he states is covered by the Weld Estate is actually paid for from the rip off fees that you have to pay to use the car park at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The estate has been doing this for years and they have got away with it because there is no where else to park. So how about telling the general public how much money is raised every year from these fees Mr Weld before running to your local newspaper crying your whinging eyes again[/p][/quote]Why should the estate not make money from the car parks it is a business like any other and if he is spending money on maintence good for him. It seems like another government policy gone badly wrong! oneshortleg
  • Score: 0

10:33am Tue 15 Jan 13

BarrHumbug says...

If the maintenance of the pathways and steps have been taken out of the estates responsibility then I presume the parking fees in their car parks this season will be reduced?
If the maintenance of the pathways and steps have been taken out of the estates responsibility then I presume the parking fees in their car parks this season will be reduced? BarrHumbug
  • Score: 0

11:20am Tue 15 Jan 13

jeebuscripes says...

Save yourself a visit to Durdle Door. Just buy The Echo's breathtaking coffee table book they were plugging to death before Christmas.

It should be available in your local Oxfam.
Save yourself a visit to Durdle Door. Just buy The Echo's breathtaking coffee table book they were plugging to death before Christmas. It should be available in your local Oxfam. jeebuscripes
  • Score: 0

9:09am Wed 16 Jan 13

H2o-hara says...

Do they really think that barricade is going stop people risking their health in going down there ? Stand by with the rescue helicopter folks !
Do they really think that barricade is going stop people risking their health in going down there ? Stand by with the rescue helicopter folks ! H2o-hara
  • Score: 0

4:03pm Thu 17 Jan 13

paul.p says...

Tourists equals money. Right, that's the easy bit out of the way. now, Natural England (made up jobs) how about spending just an incey wincey little bit of cash on something that helps pay your wages?

Too simple for you?
Tourists equals money. Right, that's the easy bit out of the way. now, Natural England (made up jobs) how about spending just an incey wincey little bit of cash on something that helps pay your wages? Too simple for you? paul.p
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Fri 18 Jan 13

garethwatkins says...

I think this is utterly shameful. This is a World Heritage Site, a very popular place for school groups, a valuable income earner for dorset and mr weld and natural england should get there act together and sort this very soon. How would mr weld feel if he travelled all the way to india to visit a world heritage site like the Taj Mahal and found it closed because there was some petty dispute over who should repair the steps?
I think this is utterly shameful. This is a World Heritage Site, a very popular place for school groups, a valuable income earner for dorset and mr weld and natural england should get there act together and sort this very soon. How would mr weld feel if he travelled all the way to india to visit a world heritage site like the Taj Mahal and found it closed because there was some petty dispute over who should repair the steps? garethwatkins
  • Score: 0

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