Rockham Beach – The Steps reopened
Access to beautiful Rockham Beach, close to Mortehoe on the north Devon coast, has been restored after a long period of closure.
The steps were washed away during the severe Valentine storms in February 2014, following a long wet winter that had a big impact on the unstable and eroding cliffs surrounding the beach.
The repair work was delayed due to the complicated geology of the site. The National Trust and Devon County Council have developed a suitable solution which will keep the beach access open for the foreseeable future.
The work has been funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, through a £1.2million grant awarded to the South West Coast Path Association to deliver 46 repair and improvement projects along the Path following the 2014 storms. The Coastal Communities Fund is financed by the government through the funding equivalent of 50% of the revenues earned from the Crown Estate’s marine activities in England and the devolved administrations.
Mark Owen, National Trail Officer for the South West Coast Path says:
“The impact that the cliff falls and associated Coast Path closures had on local businesses following the storms in early 2014 actually led to a decrease in tourism spend and jobs supported by the Coast Path were estimated to have reduced from 11,393 to 10,610 in the region.
“Repairs and improvements to popular sites along the South West Coast Path, such as Rockham Beach, which attract large numbers of visitors, will help to encourage visitors to return to these very special places and support the local community.
“The large grant we received from the Coastal Communities Fund has provided many opportunities to work with partners to improve access to the beautiful South West Coast Path.”
National Trust Lead Ranger Jonathan Fairhurst said:
“I am delighted that the steps to Rockham Beach have finally been reopened. The destruction and damage by the Valentine’s day storm won’t be forgotten in a hurry. With predictions of more stormy weather, and climate change, the National Trust will have a role to play in helping to keep places like Rockham open to the public, but ultimately we may be at mercy of the weather.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “The devastating 2014 storms caused more than £24 million of damage to infrastructure across the county, so it has taken time to recover from the legacy of its impact. Rockham Beach is a well-loved asset for this area so I’m sure everyone will welcome the reinstatement of the steps to the beach.”