26th May: Lepe Beach Repairs

I’d previously viewed the storm damage at Lepe which occurred over-night on 8th/9th April when the tide was in and flooding the fields.  The Country Park had put barriers across to try to stop people accessing the area of the breach and beyond, however at low tide people could easily walk around these!  On 13th May I too walked along the Beach at low tide to see what the damage looked like.

The field behind the beach, part of the Nature Reserve,  had clearly suffered.  My guess is that the problem had been caused by a small pond behind the beach at the end of a drainage ditch.  My guess is that normally the water filters from the pond through the beach structure and into the Solent.  However on the night of the storm surge so much water overtopped the beach that the water draining from the pond undercut the beach to form a breach.  Once formed the water would quickly enlarge it to create the present channel.

During the week 20th to 24th May the Country Park closed the beach access off before the path down from the Camp site and there was a “banksman” situated on the grassy beach area at the end of the trees to ensure members of the public did not wander any further.  They had lorries bringing infill from Fawley quarry to somewhere near the campsite and then two 20 ton dumper trucks operating a shuttle down to the beach area.  Equipped for an NCI Beach Walk, on 24th May I introduced myself to the banksman and went along the beach to see the work progressing.

The next day (25th May) was the Saturday of the Emergency Services Day at Gang Warily and also the Lepe Country Fair.  While on watch at Stone Point in the afternoon I did a Beach Walk to see how the repaired area had been left.  The barriers had been moved partly to one side, presumably by the public, and the repairs were nearly complete although one hopes there will be a top dressing of shingle.  The fence also still needs replacing on the landward side.  The area of concrete near the D-Day bollards and dolphins, presumably used for loading ships and landing craft, had been cleared of sand and shingle much more than previously, perhaps to contribute to top dressing.

Monday 27th May was the Spring Bank Holiday so work would not commence until at least the next day.  While on watch we could see the sediment plume from the repaired beach area!  The photo shows how it looked on the 24th May when they were still working on the infill.