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Coast protection in Purbeck

The coastline which extends from Poole Harbour in the east to White Nothe in the west is a distance of approximately 90km. It includes the southern boundary of Poole Harbour and the islands within it. Part of the coastal boundary, running from the chalk stacks at Old Harry to the western boundary, forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Read our Coastal and Flooding Issues - Roles and Responsibilities

Most of the coastline in this area is undeveloped and, in general, we do not take any action to combat coastal erosion. It is only where the coastline is developed that it is economical to carry out coast defence works.

We are a member of the Standing Conference on Problems Associated with the Coastline (SCOPAC).

Coast defence works in Swanage

During the winter of 2005 to 2006, 1.1 million cubic metres of sand was dredged from Poole Harbour channels and pumped on to the beaches of Swanage, Poole and Bournemouth to protect them from erosion as part of a £5 million coastal protection project.

Read more details on the Swanage beach replenishment project.

Durlston Bay Coastal Strategy

Read the Executive Summary and Summary and Conclusions.


Heavy rain in December 2012 led to parts of the cliff above Swanage beach becoming unstable with a number of landslips causing debris to fall onto the sea wall and beach.

Further wet weather in January 2013 made the situation worse, with significant landfalls to the north of Ocean Bay, particularly in the section between Burlington Chine and Sheps Hollow. The ground became waterlogged, making the cliff unstable and at risk of further falls of rock and clay.

To gain a better understanding of the current conditions of the cliffs, the Environment Agency granted us emergency funding to commission a full cliff stability survey and investigate safety measures. Read the Swanage North Beach Cliffs Site Inspection Report.

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