Future Projects

Beach Renourishment, winter 2020/21

Part of a 17-year Beach Management Scheme to protect the coastal frontages of Poole and Bournemouth


BCP Council



January 2021 

Example from a previous beach renourishment at Poole Bay

Project Overview

Eight depleted beach areas from Southbourne to Poole will be renourished with sand from January 2021 as part of the Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme which is designed to make the coastline more climate resilient.

This £7.5 million scheme will see 350,000m³ of sand being pumped ashore (using a pipeline) which will then be levelled using large machinery and left in a uniform profile. The beach locations requiring a top-up include:

  • Solent Path to St Catherine’s Path
  • Gordon’s zig-zag to Fisherman’s Walk
  • Portman Ravine zig-zag
  • Boscombe Pier
  • East Cliff
  • West Cliff to Middle Chine
  • and either side of Shore Road in Poole.

Works start date

From early January 2021 the sections of pipe will start being constructed and laid out along the beach.  Up to 2km of landpipe will be used to distribute the sand and beach material.  Approximately 1km of sinkerline, will also stretch out to sea and connect to the dredger so that material can be pumped ashore.

The renourishments will start in Southbourne (Site 8) and work on a rolling programme west to Shore Road (Site 1) in Poole.

From mid-December 2020 you will see our contractors delivering large machinery and sections of pipe around Boscombe Pier. The pipes will be transported along the prom, east and west of the pier, and will be stored on the beach.

We anticipate the project will take up to three months and be complete by Spring 2021, subject to weather, tides and working arrangements taking account of Covid-19.  In order to complete the works in the shortest time our contractor will be pumping and levelling at any time in a 24 hour period, seven days a week.

Here is what you can expect to see happening across the beaches as beach renourishment gets underway:

Images above are from previous Poole Bay beach renourishment projects; please enlarge images in the gallery for a description of the process

Access to the beaches

In the immediate vicinity of the works, the beaches will be closed for safety reasons but access to the promenade will be maintained to enable you to pass by safely. At Shore Road (Poole) we aim to maintain access across the back of the beach.  Wet sand can become unstable underfoot so the top-up locations will remain closed for a few days after the works are completed until the sand dries out and becomes compact, stable and safe to walk on again.

About the sand & beach material

In Poole Bay the sea wall and promenade limit the natural erosion of the cliffs which would otherwise recede rapidly. Sand is generally transported by wave action eastwards towards Hengistbury Head and is eventually deposited offshore. The strategically placed groynes help retain and slow down this process, but studies have shown we still lose approx. 70,000m3 annually. Cyclic beach renourishments are therefore required to ensure that we maintain a wide sandy beach which is our frontline coastal defence.

Most of the beach material for this scheme will be sourced from a licenced dredge site on the UK’s East coast, and in Poole it may be recycled from the harbour’s main Swash Channel.

Initially, the colour of the pumped sand and beach material may look slightly darker but after a short period will lighten-up as it dries out and is exposed to oxygen. Over the coming months the wave action will sort it into a more natural beach profile, and you may see the temporary formation of small ‘cliffs’ along the water’s edge.

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Our native beaches would be composed of both sands and gravels which can be seen in the exposed cliff face.

Throughout the renourishment process, continual checks will be made to ensure the particle size of imported material closely matches the existing beaches.

All works will be carried out in accordance with the Marine Management Organisation licence and planning consent.