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09th Aug 2022

Dramatic moment cliff collapses on UK beach as hot weather scorches rocks

Kieran Galpin

Jurassic Paddle Sports/I

Even the rocks have had enough

As the UK grapples with yet another blistering heatwave, holidaymakers managed to capture the insane moment a cliff collapsed in Devon.

With temperatures nearing 30C yesterday, there were a series of cliff collapses in Sidmouth and East Beach where witnesses saw huge slaps of rock continuing to fall hours after the initial break. The first incident is said to have occurred at around 9:30am in Sidmouth before spreading down East Beach for much of the morning.

Video captured from the scene shows enormous clouds of dust in the air, with onlookers watching in disbelief.

“Please do not walk on East Beach, there have been multiple cliff falls today – these can happen at any time, on any day and without any warning,” warned the Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat crew. “The best way to stay safe is to keep away. Thank you.”

Similarly, East Devon police wrote: “Another large cliff fall this morning. Reminder to beach users not to walk on the beach East of #Sidmouth due to unstable cliffs which could fall at any time.”

According to an explanation from Dorset council, heat causes rocks to expand, and on particularly hot days, “pre-existing cracks can widen, and new cracks can also form.”

While most residents are concerned for their safety, Sidmouth local Vikki Cunliffe told BBC News that “It was definitely the largest [cliff fall] I have seen there.”

“Thank goodness it was not last week during the Sidmouth Folk Festival, when there were a lot of people walking underneath there,” she added.

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