Warnings as Tenby beach sand 'disappears'

Tenby south beach
Image caption Tenby's sand problem is "particularly bad this year"

Danger signs have been placed on a popular Welsh beach amid fears its sand is disappearing.

The warning on Tenby's south beach tells visitors to watch out for exposed power cables and trip hazards.

Town councillors said an urgent plan of action is needed to protect the beach, citing fears it could disappear altogether.

The local authority said it was "particularly bad this year" but that the sand should return by the summer.

Hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers visit Tenby in Pembrokeshire each year.

Image caption A warning sign is in place on the south beach

The warning sign refers to exposed power cables that take electricity to Caldey Island, which is just off the coast. Other hazards, such as rocks and sandbags, have also become visible.

Marianne O'Shea, who manages a snack bar, said it is the worst she has seen it in 20 years and no longer lets her child go on to the beach without shoes.

The area around Tenby harbour was dredged earlier this year to allow easier access for boats and it has been suggested more dredging could resolve the issue.

But Pembrokeshire Council said it would be expensive and not improve the situation.

As well as the dredging, other suggested causes include climate change and the removal of groynes - used to interrupt water flow - 15 years ago.

However, beaches losing sand is not uncommon - a sand castle competition in Llandudno was cancelled in 2013, with residents blaming the wind for the disappearing sand.

Pembrokeshire Council's coastal engineer Emyr Williams believes Tenby's sand will return by summer.

Image caption Rocks, sand bags and other items are visible on the beach

"This sort of coastal change comes in cycles - it has happened before although I would admit that it's particularly bad this year.

"The sand will return eventually - probably in time for the school holidays. Dredging isn't the answer though.

"The volumes of sand needed to build a decent beach here would be enormous - around ten million cubic metres at enormous expense and for no obvious benefit."

Image caption As well as being a popular tourist destination, Tenby also hosts an annual iron man competition

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