Moment 500 tons of cliff crashes down from 120ft-high coastline

Moment 500 tons of cliff crashes down from 120ft-high Dorset coastline made famous by TV crime drama Broadchurch

  • Footage shows large section of 120ft cliff at East Beach, Dorset, falling today
  • Beach left covered by 40-ft high pile of 500 tonnes of rock, rubble and mud after cliff fall
  • The beach was a prominent feature of ITV crime drama Broadchurch and is popular with tourists  

This is the terrifying moment 500 tons of cliff crashes down from an 120ft-high Dorset coastline made famous by TV crime drama Broadchurch.

Today, a large section of the 120ft cliff at East Beach in West Bay, Dorset, fell.

Footage shows the sea calmly rippling while a huge part of the rock swiftly comes tumbling down onto the beach below.

A massive amount of debris comes down and lands in the sea and leaves a cloud of rock, rubble and mud. 

The aftermath of the cliff fall today has seen the beach covered with about 500 tones of mud, rock and rubble.  

West Bay and Lyme Regis coastguard officers have been investigating the cliff fall and have placed a cordon at the scene to keep people away from the beach. 

ITV’s hit crime drama Broadchurch used East Beach in its episodes often and it was a prominent feature of the show.  

There are regular rockfalls and landslips in the area because of the fragile sandstone cliffs. 

Today, a large section of the 120ft cliff at East Beach in West Bay, Dorset fell. Pictured: East Beach, Dorset 

A December 2020 incident saw an estimated 600 tonnes of rock and boulders fall from the cliffs with no warning.

Rockfalls have also been deadly in the past, with tourist Charlotte Blackman, 22, killed in one in 2012 along the same stretch of the Jurassic Coast.  

West Bay’s latest cliff fall is one of several which has occurred along the Jurassic Coast this year. 

Falling debris left a woman in hospital in May after she was hit by it while walking along the beach.

Another incident happened at Seatown in August when a huge landslip occurred.  

Heavy rainfall makes the porous sandstone weaker and causes the 180 million year old cliffs to break away.  

East Beach was a prominent feature of hit ITV crime drama Broadchurch. Pictured: Olivia Colman and David Tennant in Broadchurch

Richard Edmonds, a freelance geologist from Lyme Regis, said: ‘It just goes to show landfalls are entirely unpredictable.

‘We’ve seen them after periods of heavy rain and after bouts of sunshine. It’s been two weeks since we had heavy rain and it has gone now.

‘This shows there’s a good reason to stay away from the cliffs.’

 Richard Edmonds, a freelance geologist from Lyme Regis, said: ‘It just goes to show landfalls are entirely unpredictable.

‘We’ve seen them after periods of heavy rain and after bouts of sunshine. It’s been two weeks since we had heavy rain and it has gone now.

‘This shows there’s a good reason to stay away from the cliffs.’

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