Image shows new cliff fall warning sign in place at East Beach, Sidmouth

Council asks public for photographs of cliff falls for use in new warning signage across East Devon

Following a recent cliff fall at East Beach, a new sign warning of the dangers posed by cliff falls and rising tides has been installed by East Devon District Council on the emergency egress steps at Alma Bridge, by East Beach, in Sidmouth.

The new sign features a photograph of an actual cliff fall, taken in 2009 by Sidmouth resident Eve Mathews, as well as graphics showing a cliff fall and rising tides, together with a link to cliff safety information on the East Devon website.

The council wants to discourage members of the public from using the steps by Alma Bridge to access East Beach from the town, due to the risk of being cut off by rising tides or rock falls from the cliffs. The actual purpose of the steps is to allow a safe escape route for people approaching Sidmouth from the east, so they don’t get trapped by the incoming tide.

However, despite repeated warnings made by East Devon both through the media and with signage, people have been witnessed climbing over recently fallen material on the beach and even evading rock falls as they occur. The new design aims to prevent this happening in the future.

East Devon is now looking for photographs of other rock falls at Beer, Budleigh Salterton and Seaton, which could be used on location-specific, cliff warning signs at these sites, and is appealing to members of the public to send in any suitable images they possess.

Photographs can be submitted either by email or by post to: engineers@eastdevon.gov.uk or Engineering Department, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth EX10 8HL.

Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, welcomed the new design for Sidmouth’s East Beach, saying:

The new design is very powerful and illustrates graphically the very real danger that the cliffs present to members of the public. We sincerely hope that the photograph, which shows what a cliff fall actually looks like, will serve as a strong warning to people visiting this part of Sidmouth and to remind them not to walk beneath the cliffs.

I would like to encourage people with photos of cliff falls in other parts of East Devon to send in their images to the council, as I believe this new style of signage demonstrate very clearly that people must not take risks when walking on beaches. We would be immensely grateful of any suitable submissions that would help us create additional new signs.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Sidford ward member said: 

This is an innovative way of signing and the first of its kind in East Devon. Hopefully it will get the message out loud and clear to those unaware of the dangers of the frequent cliff falls that occur on this section of coastline not to go too close to the cliffs and not attempt to climb them.

Councillor David Barratt, East Devon District Council’s ward member for Sidmouth Rural said:

The new sign packs a really powerful message and could not make the dangers more clear, I hope everyone takes heed and keeps safe.

Councillor Catherine Gardner, East Devon District Council’s ward member for Sidmouth Town, said:

Cliff falls are becoming more common and are totally unpredictable. It's not possible to close the beach so I hope this new signage will deter people from going into such a dangerous area.