Public told not to use path to Divette Bay

A STURDY barrier is being installed across the footpath to Divette Bay in St Martin's as people have been putting themselves in danger by ignoring warning signs.

The path to the east coast bay has been closed for about six years due to erosion.

An Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services representative said the access was dangerously unstable and there was severe risk to public safety.

‘This path was deemed unsafe some years ago, but the cordoning- off attempts by ACLMS have subsequently been torn down by the public and is still used by some,’ they said.

The footpath runs immediately below an ancient landslip that runs the width of the bay.

‘Further significant landslips can occur without warning and so continued use of the path would be a dangerous endeavour.

‘Unfortunately, due to the characteristics of the cliff, it is naturally susceptible to severe erosion. There is no easy answer to fixing the path as the soft slope of the cliff is persistently eroding as a result of the continuous and significant volume of rainwater running through it from the higher land above.’

This means there is no way to stop the erosion and maintain the cliff.

Alternatives to closing the path were considered, such as installing steps, but no options were determined to be structurally, practically or economically viable.

‘ACLMS is committed to prioritising the maintenance and repair of the coastline wherever possible, but unfortunately in some cases the forces of nature cannot be contended with,’ the representative said.

‘Due to the severity of risk, a more secure, sturdy barrier is now being placed at the entrance to the path to prevent access and the public are urged to heed this warning and refrain from jumping or damaging this barrier in order to access the beach.’

They urged swimmers and walkers to avoid the beach.

‘Should a landslip or accident occur while someone was using the path, the risk of severe injury or death would be high,’ they said.

‘Due to the remoteness of this area it could also be many hours or days until that person is located and rescued.

‘Emergency services would also need to be called out at further risk to themselves.’

Swimmers can access Divette from Marble Bay or Bec du Nez, but they should let other people know their plans before setting off.

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