Coverack Coastal & Highway Protection Scheme

The Lizard Peninsula

After many years of coastal erosion and the 2017 storms, the picturesque village of Coverack with it's beautiful beach and harbour, were vulnerable to further damage and flooding by the elements. Cormac's £3.2 million coastal defence project now protects the village, it's main access road and the coastline, with a fifty-seven metre long reinforced concrete wall and eight thousand tonnes of granite rock armour.

Protecting homes and businesses

Coverack Cove is a a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and one of only a few similar locations worldwide with the same geological exposure sequence. We worked closely with Natural England and the Cornwall Geo-Conservation Group throughout the entire design and build process, as well as engaging regularly with the residents and businesses in the village. 

Drone videography was used to inform the design work and later on, to monitor progress against the digital plans. To minimise disruption to the village, heavy plant, machinery and materials were brought in by sea, keeping the access road free.

After the cliff face below the road was excavated, temporary works were done to support the highway. Then the main construction phases started. Soil nails were drilled in to the rock face one metre at a time, to avoid destabilizing the highway above. Then they were reinforced with geotechnical mesh and spray concrete. 

Specialist no-fines concrete was used to install the footing for the wall. This concrete lets captured water drain down through the rock armour below. Then complex and custom formwork and shuttering was built. The wall itself was constructed in eight separate concrete pours. Each getting larger, in order to accommodate the increasing width and height of the wall, as it progressed from south to north.

The final piece of construction was the culvert. It connected the existing granite highway culvert to the new retaining wall. Constructed of mass concrete the culvert was formed in two pours, for the base and walls, then the cap. The latter also comprised eighteen concrete coping stones, customised to suit the curvature of the wall. 

Coverack's new sea wall is further protected by a one hundred and twenty metre barrier of rock armour on the beach. Giant granite stones were brought in by sea and strategically placed, interlocking and reinforcing the sea wall. They dissipate wave energy, control erosion, are easy to maintain and have minimal effect on wildlife (in fact can enhance and create habitats). 

To finish, Cormac carried out a number of improvements to the village green. A new kerb-line and drainage gullies were installed to capture surface water run-off and carry it out to sea. Together with new fencing, bollards and enhanced seating. 


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    tonnes of rock armour

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Cormac began as a business with a remit to service all the civil engineering needs of Cornwall. As a consequence we have an extensive range of specialist skillsets, and can offer a true end-to-end service to our clients in Cornwall and beyond.

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