Dorset

Dorset cliff path reopens after landslip death

  • 5 April 2013
  • From the section Dorset
Landslide at Hive Beach
Image caption Charlotte Blackman was killed following a landslide at Burton Bradstock

A Dorset coastal path which closed in July following a landslip which killed a young woman has reopened with a permanent diversion.

Charlotte Blackman, 22, of Heanor, Derbyshire, died after a 160ft (50m) high cliff at Burton Bradstock collapsed.

The mile-long path between Burton Freshwater and Hive Beach has now reopened with a 1,300ft (400m) section diverted inland.

The beach below remains closed.

'Large rock fall'

Dorset County Council said the original South West Coast Path between Burton Freshwater and Cliff Road, where the landslip occurred, had reopened.

It follows work with the National Trust, which manages the land, including new fencing and gates.

Image caption Charlotte Blackman hoped to begin a teaching career

The route between Cliff Road and Hive Beach remains closed with a permanent diversion behind some seafront properties.

A small section of path at Cliff Road has also been moved about 10m (30ft) inland.

The National Trust said a section of Hive Beach, directly in front of Hive Beach Cafe, is open, but west of the beach to Freshwater remains closed.

John Hayes, senior ranger for Dorset Countryside Coastal Ranger Team, said Hive Beach remained closed following another "large rock fall" in March, which happened west of the site where Ms Blackman was killed, on 24 July.

He said the cliff path was "too far" inland for the slip to pose a risk to walkers on the path.

Ms Blackman had been on holiday with her family at the nearby Freshwater Holiday Park when she was killed in the landslide.

Witnesses said she had been seen walking directly under the cliff moments before it collapsed.

Her boyfriend and father Kevin were also buried beneath the rocks, but were pulled free from the rubble by rescuers.

The National Trust said an official reopening of the cliff path was "imminent".

Recent figures by the South West Coast Path Association show there have been 10 times more landslips than normal on the South West coast path over the winter, with 30 slips and cliff falls recorded since November.

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