Coastal erosion: Thousands of Scottish rocks sent to English village to stop coastline falling into sea

Around 13,500 tons of boulders have been transported to West Somerset to stop coastal erosion.

The boulders on the Blue Anchor beach in West Somerset. (SWNS)
The boulders on the Blue Anchor beach in West Somerset. (SWNS)

Several thousand massive rocks have been shipped from Scotland to an English village to stop the coastline and road falling into the sea.

Around 13,500 tons of boulders were transported to a beach in the seaside community of Blue Anchor in West Somerset to prevent coastal erosion.

The £3.8m permanent scheme will provide support to the walls and mudstone cliff, as well as a section of the B3191 road.

Workers will move the boulders to the foot of the cliffs and reprofile the slopes, with the work expected to finish by the end of September.

Read more: Coastal erosion: The villages at risk of falling into sea as beach loses '10ft of land'

The rocks will be placed against the cliffs on the West Somerset coast. (Somerset Council)
The rocks will be placed against the cliffs on the West Somerset coast. (Somerset Council)

The fragility of this section of coastline was underlined recently with the indefinite closure of the B3191 at Cleeve Hill, near Watchet.

Somerset West and Taunton Council carried out emergency works to stabilise the wall and reduce the risk of collapse in 2020.

Cllr Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The work that has been achieved in bringing so many tonnes of rock by sea so far is impressive, even more so when it has been completed ahead of schedule.

“Tackling coastal erosion is a huge undertaking and by providing this extra line of defence we are protecting the local community.”

Read more: Homes on cliff edge evacuated amid fears they could plunge into sea during storm

Cllr Mike Rigby, Lead Member for Transport and Digital, added: “This has been quite a complex and lengthy logistical operation.

“Thank you to the project teams involved and to all those who live in, or visit, Blue Anchor for their patience while this important coastal defence work takes place and for staying clear of the rock piles.”

Access to the beach and slipway will remain restricted while heavy machinery is in operation.

It comes after the village seaside resort of Hemsby in Norfolk was closed in February when its coastline lost 10ft (3metres) of land in just two days.

In March, residents had to be evacuated overnight amid fears their houses could plunge into the sea during a storm surge.

At least five people were told to leave their homes as 50mph winds and a high tide of 3.7 metres threatened properties perching on a small sand cliff.

The Hemsby shoreline in January 2023. (SWNS)
The Hemsby shoreline in January 2023. (SWNS)
Lance Martin's property during te storm. (SWNS)
A property in Hemsby during a storm. (SWNS)

Hemsby, which has 3,000 residents, has suffered from severe coastal erosion in recent years, with a number of properties abandoned as the cliffs slip away.

Residents have been fighting to get a rock berm in place in a bid to help stop the erosion even further.

At the begging of the year, 21 "erosion hotspots" were identified, including Hemsby, across the English coast.

The areas at risk include seaside villages in Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, East Yorkshire, Essex, Kent, the Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Norfolk and Sussex.

The list of villages and hamlets at risk was compiled by climate action group One Home.

It said 2,218 homes were in danger, with an estimated total worth of £584m.