Watcombe Beach has officially reopened to the public following repair works and the creation of a new access point.
Located on the edge of Torquay, it was closed by Torbay Council in February 2020 after storms and heavy rains destroyed much of the path and steps leading down to the beach, making it difficult to access the beach safely.
Groundwork South Trust, Watcombe ward councillors, SWISCo and council staff worked in partnership to deliver the necessary repair works which included the diversion of problematic watercourses that were causing damage to the existing path.
Led by charity Groundwork South Trust, the labour-intensive job of removing the damaged, concrete steps was carried out and new steps made from locally sourced logs have been put in their place.
The repair works were part-funded by Torbay Council. The project also received £5,080 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, of which Torbay has received a total of £1,764,043 to invest in local projects over three years.
The fund is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and its overarching aim is to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK. TDA is managing Torbay’s UKSPF Investment Plan on behalf of Torbay Council, overseeing procurement, allocating funding and managing the contracts to those organisations delivering the projects.
Councillor Chris Lewis, Cabinet Member for Place Services and Economic Growth for Torbay Council, said: ‘‘We’re delighted that people can enjoy Watcombe Beach again, especially with the start of the school summer holidays. Torbay boasts 22 miles of stunning coastline and over 20 beaches and secluded coves. It’s one of the many reasons why the English Riviera is a wonderful place to live and why thousands of tourists visit the area every year. As a Council, we are committed to protecting these beautiful natural places and making them as accessible and inclusive as possible so that everyone can experience them.’’
Davina Luther, Engagement Manager at Groundwork South, said: ”Two distinct pieces of work have been undertaken to divert the stream to prevent the undermining of the stepped pathway. This work was stress tested last winter and has now allowed for the step rebuild. Groundwork South Trust and SWISCo have worked closely over the previous two years to achieve this. Approximately £30,000 has been spent over this period to divert the stream. The local community and nearby ward councillors have assisted in monitoring the effectiveness of these works once implemented. This is a great example of how local government, community and environmental charities can work together to protect local treasures and I’m particularly looking forward seeing Torbay families, school groups and scouts accessing and enjoying this beautiful beach.”
The beach was officially reopened on Friday 21 July 2023.