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Coastal Erosion Challenges at Beesands

Sea defence works are due to begin at Beesands, giving the community a bit more time to adjust to coastal erosion as sea levels rise and storms increase the vulnerability of the area.


Coastal erosion in South Hams villages such as Start Bay and Beesands is nothing new.  The predicted sea level rise and more frequent storm events increase the risk to these communities.

At Beesands in 2016/2017 the Council carried out works to the existing coastal defences to maintain the level of defence and to extend their life span.

 At this time, a number of stone baskets were buried in the village green to enable future erosion levels to be monitored. These baskets have now become exposed.

No further external funding is available to support work in this location. However, South Hams District Council has taken the decision to fund a 70m extension of the existing defence situated in front of the village green. These works are due to start in the next few weeks.

However, it is very likely these works will be the last defence works undertaken by the Council at this location.

It is hoped these works will provide more time for the community to prepare for a future without coastal erosion intervention works.

There will be further public awareness and community engagement sessions to help the community understand how they can adapt to the coastal change process.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams Executive Member for Beach Management: said: "Coastal erosion is not an easy thing for any of us to accept or predict. For the people who live in an area or visit regularly, it can be heart wrenching to see the coast disappear before their eyes.  But, as we have seen in recent years along this coast, one big storm can result is a great deal of destruction, despite defence works in place and we are now heading into stormy season.

"At Beesands, we have decided that, while we all accept the coast will continue to recede, it would be beneficial to construct a further 70 metres of defences. We hope this will allow more time for the community to adapt to change.  Sadly, this is very likely to be the last defence works we are able to do."

The Council's decision to stop coastal erosion intervention work in this area, aligns with the current shoreline management policies for coastal defence, which set out the management of the shoreline over the next 100 years.

Cllr Julian Brazil, South Hams District Council's local Ward Member for Stokenham said: "'Beesands is a very special place in the South Hams. These works will protect the Village Green, houses and the access road. We don't know what the weather will bring in the future but I'm delighted the Council is doing its best to protect our local communities for the now."

The contractor for the works is Landmarc who will be looking to set up their site compound from the 14 December. The main works are then programmed to begin on the 4 January and will take approximately eight weeks to complete

Residents will be kept informed as the works take place - officers will be onsite and in the local community talking to residents in the new year.

Shoreline Management Plan can be found here: SDADCAG SMP2 - SWRCMP (


Issued: 15 December 2020

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