In November 2016, a piece of the cliffs at Tolcarne slid down onto the beach access road. This landslide resulted in the access road being closed for public safety. After site visits and slip analysis, it was decided that the road could not be reopened without work to secure the cliff.
Complex specialist design work, as well as significant ecological and environmental surveys, were undertaken to allow us to develop a permanent and versatile solution for the problem; one that could be safely installed without impacting on the local fauna and flora, especially in the case of rare plants that could be damaged or nesting birds that could be disturbed.
To deter animals making their home in the cliff vegetation, a temporary covering of wire nesh was placed over the cliffs. This meant that birds would not be able to make it their home for the nesting season, as environmental protection legalities would then have forbidden us from undertaking repairs until October 2017.
The work needed will involve drilling soil nails and anchors into the bedrock, some up to six metres in length. These will then have plates screwed onto the end which, when tightened, will hold larger parts of the failing cliff in place. Smaller pieces will be caught by wire netting, which will also be attached to the anchors. These can be released under control by loosening the mesh, allowing them to fall safely.
In order to allow the access road to the beach to open, we will complete the work required in two phases. The first phase, underway now, will see us concentrate on securing the parts of the cliff overlooking the road. This will take around six weeks. Once this is complete, the access road will be reopened for the remainder of the summer. The steps to the beach will remain usable at all times, even throughout the works.
In phase one we are adding anchors to stabilise the two priority sections of the cliff, including 28 6.5metre (21 feet) rock bolts.
The second phase will begin sometime in the autumn. Both phases will be undertaken by Abcas, a specialist rope access construction company.
Last updated: Thursday 27 July