Beach steps ruined by the sea and storms repaired

The section of damaged concrete, photographed before the work began. Image by Mick Simpson.
The section of damaged concrete, photographed before the work began. Image by Mick Simpson.

A set of steps which take visitors to and from a beach have been made safe after they were battered by the elements.

The National Trust and South Tyneside Council teamed up to repair Redwell Steps at Marsden Bay in South Shields.

The steps before the damaged area was removed. Photo by Mick Simpson.

The steps before the damaged area was removed. Photo by Mick Simpson.

Years of erosion by the sea, particularly during high tides and storms, had undercut the concrete steps.

In December a 2 metre by 3 metre section of the structure became detached, leaving the steps in an unsafe state.

Members of the team at the National Trust’s Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, who manage areas of the local coastline, met with representatives of the council to assess the damage and agree a solution to repair it.

The repairs were then carried out by contractor Andy Guthrie of A & J Guthrie & Son of Consett, County Durham.

The undercut section of the steps once the work had been carried out. Image by Dougie Holden.

The undercut section of the steps once the work had been carried out. Image by Dougie Holden.

Eric Wilton, general manager for the National Trust’s South of Tyne property group, said:

“Given the potential risk to members of the public visiting Marsden Bay, it was important to act quickly.

"We value our relationship with South Tyneside Council and often work closely with them.

"This pays off when we need to solve problems such as this at short notice.

The steps pictured after the repairs were carried out. Photo by Dougie Holden.

The steps pictured after the repairs were carried out. Photo by Dougie Holden.

"We’ll also be looking together at a longer term solution, in keeping with the National Trust’s broader coastal strategy which balances conservation work with improving access to the coast.”

Councillor Moira Smith, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety at the council, said: “We are lucky to have such a beautiful coastline in South Tyneside but unfortunately it is vulnerable to erosion, particularly during the winter months.

“Marsden Bay is well used by local residents and visitors so it was important that the damage was repaired quickly to improve the access and to ensure the steps were made safe for people to use.

“We continue to work with the National Trust to monitor the situation and explore ways of enhancing this part of the coast in the future.”

With particularly high tides coinciding with strong winds and rough seas forecast over the rest of this week, it is hoped the repairs will prevent further damage to the steps for the time being.