‘Mini-cliff’ forms at Studland beach after storms roll back sands

‘Mini-cliff’ forms at Studland beach after storms roll back sands

The dunes at the back of the beach at Studland which have been severely eroded by the rough weather recently

Elli MacDonald

First published in News by

THIS dramatic picture of Studland Beach is testimony to the power of the storms that have battered Dorset’s coastline in recent weeks.

So much sand has been lost, albeit temporarily, from this Purbeck beauty spot, that a mini-cliff has formed near the shoreline.

If you walked the length of the beach, up to 10 metres of sand has been lost in places, as well as damage to a number of trees and dunes, says the National Trust.

The fierce conditions also caused a small landslide at Middle Beach and affected rocks surrounding one of Dorset’s most recognisable land-marks – Old Harry.

Elli MacDonald, who is working with the National Trust on the ‘Living with a Changing Coast’ project, said despite the rocks around Old Harry being affected, the chalk stack itself remains intact.

Elli, whose work is focused on how coastal change affects communities, believes the way forward at Studland is to work with the natural processes.

“We take the long view on adaptation to climate change and extreme weather,” she explained.

“Coastal change is inevitable, and the forces of nature are part of the beauty and appeal of our coast, so we want to work with the natural process wherever possible.”

Although the National Trust’s long-term position is to develop a plan for the sustainable management of coastal change at Studland, in the short-term workers have been clearing debris from the beach and ensuring visitor access is maintained.

Over time, Elli says, coastal infrastructure and facilities will be gradually ‘rolled back’ to less vulnerable positions, while allowing nature to create new sea defences such as sand bars and dunes.

The National Trust believes that it would be futile, and ultimately accelerate the erosion process, if attempts were made to hold back the waves at Studland.

• Bay closer to protection...

STUDLAND Bay is one step closer to enjoying protected Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) status, following an announcement from Defra yesterday.

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) welcomed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announcement confirming Studland is one of 37 new sites listed for possible protection.

There will be a second round of consultation in 2015 before the final MCZs are finally decided.

The government is working towards creating a network of marine protected areas.

DWT marine awareness officer Julie Hatcher said: “This is great news. Studland Bay is one of the most significant wildlife sites in the country and is nationally important as the only known breeding ground for both the spiny and short-snouted seahorse.

“As well as being home to a rich variety of species such as the native oyster, the extensive seagrass meadows provide a nursery area for important fish.”

Comments (5)

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9:09am Wed 26 Feb 14

a.g.o.g. says...

Wind and weather will turn ``the cliff` into a normal looking front line dune by end of Summer`- as per usual after rip-tides have done their work.!
Wind and weather will turn ``the cliff` into a normal looking front line dune by end of Summer`- as per usual after rip-tides have done their work.! a.g.o.g.
  • Score: 9

5:03pm Wed 26 Feb 14

TOM AND JANE says...

Studland Bay does not need to become an MCZ.
It is a fallacy to believe that rare species found there are becoming endangered.
Ground trawling is forbidden and species such as the Undulated Ray, Native Oyster, Spiney and Short Snouted Seahorse are all found there on occasions. Probably, because in fact the Seagrass beds are thriving like never before.
The Seahorse Trust have only found a handfull of Seahorses there in the last few year, despite their frequent dives. To describe Studland as the "only known" breeding ground in the UK is a deliberate deception, as they haven't wanted or even tried to look elswhere. Seahorses are to be found allround our shoreline, including Poole Harbour. If this so called breading ground is almost unique, Seahorses around our coastline would have died out long ago.
Studland Bay does not need to become an MCZ. It is a fallacy to believe that rare species found there are becoming endangered. Ground trawling is forbidden and species such as the Undulated Ray, Native Oyster, Spiney and Short Snouted Seahorse are all found there on occasions. Probably, because in fact the Seagrass beds are thriving like never before. The Seahorse Trust have only found a handfull of Seahorses there in the last few year, despite their frequent dives. To describe Studland as the "only known" breeding ground in the UK is a deliberate deception, as they haven't wanted or even tried to look elswhere. Seahorses are to be found allround our shoreline, including Poole Harbour. If this so called breading ground is almost unique, Seahorses around our coastline would have died out long ago. TOM AND JANE
  • Score: 0

8:59am Thu 27 Feb 14

tim m says...

"Studland Bay does not need to become an MCZ."

What/whom does it harm if it does?
"Studland Bay does not need to become an MCZ." What/whom does it harm if it does? tim m
  • Score: 3

2:13am Fri 28 Feb 14

Avengerboy says...

Like the weather it's a cyclic process.
Like the weather it's a cyclic process. Avengerboy
  • Score: 0

5:08pm Sat 1 Mar 14

TOM AND JANE says...

Studland Bay and its beaches have flourished for years with only a few, limited and sensible restrictions in place. Its beaches are loved and used by many and it is the most popular and beautiful anchorage on the south coast.
Making it an MCZ, ruled not by the local authorities but a Quango based up in Newcastle, the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO), will on;y result in a whole load of new restrictions and regulations, demanded no doubt by local Charities; for example the National Trust, the Seahorse Trust and the Dorset Wild Life Trust, and so charges will become inevitable. These Charitiies have to be seen to be doing something, however unneccesary, as the funding from the General Public, the Heritage and Lottery funds will simply dry up and in some case them too.
Studland Bay does not need this, it has remained unspoilt for years, so let it be.
Studland Bay and its beaches have flourished for years with only a few, limited and sensible restrictions in place. Its beaches are loved and used by many and it is the most popular and beautiful anchorage on the south coast. Making it an MCZ, ruled not by the local authorities but a Quango based up in Newcastle, the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO), will on;y result in a whole load of new restrictions and regulations, demanded no doubt by local Charities; for example the National Trust, the Seahorse Trust and the Dorset Wild Life Trust, and so charges will become inevitable. These Charitiies have to be seen to be doing something, however unneccesary, as the funding from the General Public, the Heritage and Lottery funds will simply dry up and in some case them too. Studland Bay does not need this, it has remained unspoilt for years, so let it be. TOM AND JANE
  • Score: 0

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