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Featured Image Credit: Lee Holt/BNPS
There were a series of cliff falls along the Devon coast yesterday, 8 August. You can watch the moment it happened here:
The dramatic landslides happened in Sidmouth and East Beach, the second major landslide to take place along the Jurassic coast in two weeks.
Witnesses said huge slabs of rock continued to fall hours after the initial landslide had begun.
The first dramatic fall happened at 9.30am in Sidmouth, with another large fall and a spate of smaller ones occurring along East Beach throughout the morning.
Local authorities in the area warned people to stay away, with the Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat crew saying: "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. The best way to stay safe is to keep away. Thank you."
East Devon police were also on the scene, telling people on Twitter: "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."
Moment huge chunk of rock falls off cliff face onto beach below after it cracked in recent spell of hot weather large section of #Sidmouthcliff, #Devon, crashed onto the beach pic.twitter.com/w2lLaPFgs0— 6IX WORLD NEWS (@6ixworldnews) August 9, 2022
The cliff collapse has been attributed to the record-breaking heat this summer, with parts of the UK seeing temperatures of 40ºC.
The Dorset Council explained how heat affects the rocks: "Heat causes rocks to expand and, particularly during temperature fluctuations, any pre-existing cracks can widen, and new cracks can also form. This makes cliffs potentially more unstable and rockfalls more likely to happen."
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. #signsthereforareason #beachsafety pic.twitter.com/7xY9NKc75Y— Rural East Devon Police (@EastDevonPolice) August 8, 2022
Concerned residents took to Facebook to share their thoughts, as one person thought about the safety of visiting tourists: "Can they not fence it off so people can't go? ...visitors might not realise how serious it is...I haven't been near there so I don't know what fences or signs are up."
While another was concerned for the cliffs themselves, saying: "There will be no cliffs left at this rate of falling."
Sidmouth resident Mrs Cunliffe told BBC News: "It was definitely the largest [cliff fall] I have seen there/ There was another big fall later, and many smaller falls. It's been going on every half-an-hour.
"Thank goodness it was not last week during the Sidmouth Folk Festival, when there were a lot of people walking underneath there."
Police have urged people not to go near the area.