Wednesday, 3 March 2010

No storm in a tea-cup

Our beaches at Budleigh Salterton have taken another pounding over the winter.

Tons of our red cliffs have slipped downwards as you can see from the photo I took on 14 February.

It may have been St Valentine's Day, but clearly there's no love lost between the sea and our steadily retreating British coastline since I wrote about erosion near the South West Coast Path.

The cracks that I worried about at
have now gone! No doubt new ones will appear soon enough. But that's nothing compared with what our neighbours across the pond have to put up with.

On Cape Cod they face the full force of the Atlantic. Budleigh's winter storms have been a quiet affair compared with the devastating effects on the beaches around our sister town of Brewster. In January I was admiring the work done by volunteers including AmeriCorps crew members led by Brewster's Natural Resources Department.

And now, it seems, almost all that work has been undone. Brewster's Natural Resources Department reported a few days ago that once again, coastal erosion has hit the beaches as the astronomically high tides coincided with a storm. High tides will continue all week, and the beaches are now much more vulnerable to further damage.

Paines Creek Landing is now closed. Many of the sandbags placed by the volunteers are now buried or out of place. They apparently did a good job at absorbing the storm energy, but as the image above shows, they were not enough to protect the area and the protective dune placed there by the volunteers has gone. One of my Brewster correspondents reports that the shoreline has been moved back significantly. "I estimate up to 15 feet in places," he tells me. "There is and will be a high level of angst from towns officials and ultimately taxpayers as we are budgetarily stretched thin and overtaxed."

Photo credit: Brewster Natural Resources Department
Further pictures of the damage can be viewed at

Incidentally, interesting news items relating to Brewster Natural Resources Department are now being published on the town's website. See

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