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Pembrokeshire Coast warning over erosion threat

Posted 18 January 2013
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Pembrokeshire Coast warning over erosion threat
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Last year was a very special one for the Welsh coast. Wales became the first country in the world to have its own complete coastal path established.

Some parts of Wales, however, already had established coastal paths, among them Pembrokeshire. The 186-mile route covers some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Britain, so much so in fact that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only one of the 15 designated areas based around the seaside scenery, rather than inland landscapes of moor, mountain, lake and forest.

While hundreds of thousands of pairs of walking boots follow the shoreline, the public has been warned this week that the heavy precipitation of recent months has taken its toll, with landslips becoming more common due to the saturated ground.

Freshwater West has become the latest location to suffer a landslip, following other recent occurrences at Solva, Manorbier and Freshwater East.

The national park authority's national trail officer Dave MacLachlan said: "Cliff falls of this kind are not uncommon but, due to heavy rainfall, the scale of recent problems has been unprecedented, and we would ask walkers and visitors attracted to our beautiful coast to take extra care near cliffs, especially around beaches."

He added: "People should always be wary of walking or sitting on or under cliffs."

Safety signs are in place near the landslip and members of the public who spot similar occurrences have been asked to contact the national park authority.

None of this, of course, should put people off enjoying the beauty of the national trail. Indeed, such events may be considered an occupational hazard of having paths in areas like the sea shore that are prone to erosion.

In early 2011, for example, part of the Coast-to-Coast route near its start point of St Bees Head in Cumbria was closed to the public after a landslip, with inspections having to be carried out on adjacent clifftop areas to assess their stability. However, with a diversion temporarily in place, walkers were still able to set off on their journey inland and then onwards to St Bees' Head.