March 2, 2023

Slapton Sands – Rock Armour Relocation

Slapton Sands is a picturesque beach in South Devon, with 3 miles of shingle separating the sea from Slapton Ley, the largest freshwater lake in the South West. It’s a haven for wildlife, making it a delicate environment to work in. Thankfully, Landmarc has 30 years of experience in handling such sensitive areas.

The A379 runs along the beach, connecting Dartmouth with Kingsbridge, and is vital to the local community. However, during winter, storms bring strong winds and waves that cause damage. Many of the locals will remember the time that Storm Emma washed away a large part of the road in March 2018. Although it was rebuilt and opened 7 months later, Natural England has decided that if it happens again, nature will be allowed to take its course.

To protect the Torcross end of the beach, South Hams District Council instructed Landmarc to collect and replace some of the existing rock armour that has been washed away by the sea.

In February 2023, Landmarc mobilised their team with their Doosan 25 tonne long reach excavator fitted with a rock grab and their 10 tonne tracked dumper to Torcross car park. It’s worth noting that Slapton beach was used during World War II as a practice beach for the D-Day landings, and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) can still be uncovered by the shifting shingle, making it a tricky beach to work on. To ensure safety, they employed 1st Line Defence to attend the site. Photos show the rock armour scattered across the beach before Landmarc’s team arrived. Some of the rocks weighed over 6 tonnes. Using their Doosan, they would track along the beach, lift the rocks, and put them in the dumper. Then both machines would head to where the rock armour needed to be placed. The Doosan would unload the dumper and stack the rock neatly and firmly against the banking, protecting the road from strong waves. This process was repeated until all the rock had been collected and placed to safeguard this lifeline for the locals.