Camber rocks

Boulders being moved from the sea to the sea defence location at Jurys Gap

There are plenty of dog walkers making their way along the sands at Jurys Gap on the far side of Camber and vehicles are parked where they can, legally or otherwise, as visitors start their slow but sure return to Camber.

They are joined on the beach by a fleet of heavy trucks, huge diggers and, on the promenade, flatbed lorries all busily moving and delivering rocks as part of the continuing £20m Broomhill Sands Coastal Defence Scheme which runs along 2.4km of coastline near Camber.

These are not Tonka toys, huge granite boulders need massive trucks to move them

The huge granite boulders, many of which originated from Norway, are offloaded from barges that drop them in the sea at high tide. At low tide the transfer begins, diggers scoop up the rocks and drop them into awaiting ‘Tonka’ lorries who take them to their final resting place.

On the promenade a further fleet of flatbed HGVs are delivering more boulders, unloaded by huge diggers parked on protective wooden ‘decks’ to save the surface of the promenade from what might otherwise be significant damage, given the weight of these machines.

Boulders arriving on trucks for the sea defences

Tracks across the sand confirm the route the trucks are taking and a group of men in hi-viz vests and red protective hats are organising the whole operation.

No signs of life but the huge diggers have left their temporary mark on the sands at Jury’s Gap

The scheme was developed to improve the standard of sea defence with a concrete wave wall and rock revetment. This will increase the standard of protection from one in five to one in 200 years, including allowances for climate change and changes in predicted tide levels. The works undertaken comprised the following principal elements

• Beach recharge to 700m of shingle beach
• Removal of existing timber groynes from the beach
• Construction of eight new timber groynes (each 54m in length) to stabilise the beach and retain the beach material
• Construction of a 1,700m rock revetment and wave wall along the remainder of the frontage
• Widening and improvement of the access way along the top of the old sea defences
• Provision of a number of pedestrian access steps and ramps and two maintenance ramps to the foreshore to allow future maintenance of the sea defences
• Fabrication and installation on the site of a number of artistic works, utilising timber reclaimed from removed groynes.

When complete, the scheme will provide improved protection from the risk of flooding for 1,831 properties, 825 of which are residential. With the absence of tourists at this end of the beach it’s a great opportunity to crack on with the works but, as lockdown begins to ease, visitors and onlookers may change the situation.

It’s quite a sight to witness, particularly for children fascinated by the ‘monster trucks’, but perhaps equally as fascinating to many dads who would no doubt love to have the opportunity to drive these massive “boys’ toys” but, given their size and capabilities, for all concerned it’s best left to the experts!

Boulders in temporary position awaiting transportation.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


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