We are currently finalising our plans to remove the damaged sea defences at West Beach. Please visit our West Beach maintenance page here to read more.
Overview of the situation
West Beach is situated on the south-west corner of Hayling Island between the Inn-on-the-Beach and the Hayling Golf Club. Structures here consist of a timber revetment and timber groynes which are reaching the end of their residual life. Behind the revetment are beach huts, a car park and a SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest) site.
In the early part of the 21st century, the coastline at West Beach was much further seaward and Gunner Point was not the prominent feature that it is today. The construction of coastal defences and other structures have evolved the Hayling coastline to its current shape and position.
It is important to understand the history of these defences. The timber sea defences at West Beach were constructed in 1976 in response to beach erosion, which was attributed to the seaward extension of the defences at the Inn-on-the-Beach. This impacted upon the natural drift to West Beach. As set out below, these timber structures have been maintained regularly since they were put in place. As Hayling is exposed to large powerful waves, over time the structures have become worn by the action of the waves and are now nearing the end of their functional life.
Figure 2 identifies the years during which maintenance works were carried out on the groynes and sloping timber breastwork at West Beach. Within the last 42 years, during only 11 years were no maintenance works required on the structures. The red identifies the years when removal of a part of the timber structure was carried out.
Following storm damage, the western section of the revetment was removed in March 2012 and a further section in June 2013, with approval in principle to remove the remaining sections once the structure became unmaintainable (see figure 1). Since these operations, the previously adjoining groynes became outflanked and rapidly deteriorated. These groynes were submerged at high tide and held very little beach material. As a result, they were removed in March 2018 due to the unacceptable health and safety risk that they posed. For more information on the 2018 groyne removal works, click here.
Currently, the remaining revetment and its associated groynes (groynes 53 - 55) are functional despite their age. Their condition is being monitored and decisions on the future of the remaining timber structures will be taken when the condition changes.