Hengistbury Head Long Groyne Closure
As well as being regularly submerged underwater, a detailed inspection of the Long Groyne at Hengistbury Head (using sonar and laser equipment) revealed it is in a very poor condition. Several voids were discovered in the foundations below the waterline so there is a risk of localised collapse.
The Long Groyne is due to be repaired and upgraded in 2021-22 (more below); for safety reasons the structure was temporarily closed in summer 2019.
Please do not put yourself in danger by climbing onto or fishing from the groyne, even at low tide, it is unsafe.
Hengistbury Head Long Groyne: illustrating its crucial position within Poole and Christchurch Bays. Over the years beach material has built up around the long groyne, and other groynes in the area, covering and extending the once rocky shoreline. The wide, sandy beach now protects the soft cliffs from erosion by the sea.
Plans for Long Groyne repair & upgrade
The ‘hold the line’ policy includes replacing groynes as they become life-expired as well as re-nourishing beaches with material lost as a result of ongoing natural processes and winter storms. Over the next 10 years, BCP Council will receive approximately £33 million of government funding for its Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme to help protect our coastal frontage. To ensure minimal disturbance to the environment, the repair and upgrade of the groyne will take place in its existing position from 2021. The entire structure will also be raised in height to help provide protection for the next 100 years from predicted sea-level rise.
The purpose of the Long Groyne
The 80-year-old groyne is critical to controlling coastal erosion in Poole and Christchurch Bays where the current national policy for most of this populated coastal frontage is ‘hold the line’. Along with other shoreline structures, the long groyne helps to protect communities in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. However, its current condition, age and the site’s prevailing weather conditions means it is unlikely it will continue to perform effectively, particularly with the additional threat of sea level rise.
Without the long groyne, beach material would rapidly wash away and the cliffs could start to erode again within a year.
Please do not use the groyne, it is unsafe. If you are fishing around the coastline the RNLI advise you to plan your trip.
Tides and currents can be hard to predict. Even if the sea is relatively calm when you start out, a swell can quickly materialise producing rogue waves which, if in an exposed location, could drag you out to sea. Please respect the water and stay safe:
- wear a life jacket,
- carry a means of calling for help,
- check the weather forecast,
- tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.
Read more about staying safe while you’re out fishing at: www.rnli.org