What the beach means to me
Words from residents and visitors from Teignmouth and Holcombe
To contribute to this page by telling us what the beach means to you, please fill in the form at the bottom of the page.
Drawing by a protestor, age 8 straight after the Human Chain event. See the Human Chain gallery >>
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I have holidayed in Teignmouth for over 50 years and my dad and grandad before that. We have endless family stories and happy memories of this area. It is my 'happy place.
To arrive at Teignmouth, get chips and walk along Brunel's wall to Sprey Point, sit on the Teignmouth sign, where you can see out to see in all directions and hear the waves: you are on holiday. The train sweeps behind you as it disappears into Teignmouth or through to Holcombe tunnel.
As a runner I love this path, waves crashing, the red brick and the openness of that space.
When I was a child we used to walk along here and then return along the beach, using the clever steps to return to the path as the sea came in. How can you take this away from people? When the groynes were put onto the beach in the 70s, I remember the noise from that, we put up with it for one summer.
I, for one, will not want to return to Teignmouth as a holiday destination if this goes ahead as you will takeaway the soul of the place and I am sure I would not be the only one. This will be 8 years; I would not want to sit on that beach with all the noise. The view from the beach, across to Sprey Point and on to Holcombe and Parson and the Clerk will be ruined.
I am horrified by this proposal, in this day and age and with good architecture the wall and beach should be incorporated into a clever design that protects the railway.
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Let us consider the aesthetic consequences of this scheme...
Look at the cliffs, the beach and sea as you walk along the top of the wall- the intense colours - the play of light.
Rest at Sprey Point as our forebears did - entrench yourself in the feeling of almost being at sea with very little disturbance of humankind's activity.
Pay particular attention to the high wall when you walk along the beach.....every inch of it is a work of art embodying red sandstone, limestone and granite, cut and assembled with skills that cannot now be matched.
NOBODY WANTS TO GET RID OF THE RAILWAY!
What seems to be desired is a softer rather than radical approach so that the necessary protection can be installed without the utter destruction of all that is so dear to countless people across the world...YES! The World!
We ask NETWORK RAIL to please...in the name of HERITAGE....think again and proffer a scheme that PROTECTS against the elements and PRESERVES our Heritage.
Viv Wilson MBE, Teignmouth resident
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Personal View of the Network Rail Proposals
I spent most of my early childhood at Sprey Point during the time my Father (N W Boyce) ran a tea garden there up to 1940 when it was taken over for coastal defence.
I appreciate that personal memories will not carry much weight compared with the need to provide a secure rail link for Devonshire.
I must be one of very few alive who still have pre-war memories of Sprey Point and the facilities it provided along Brunel's sea wall for visitors and residents of Teignmouth.
It is sad to think that this iconic structure may be destroyed when it should be preserved as a historic monument to one of England's greatest engineers, and for the enjoyment of future generations.
My husband has know Sprey Point since he was a teenager, and I have added below his observations on the NR proposals.
"There must be a more sympathetic way to achieve both a secure rail link and preserve Brunel's magnificent structure and beach for the use of future generations. Below area few points which I think should be considered before such a radical solution proposed by NR is adopted.
Have the difficulties of constructing a new sea wall been taken into account in the NR proposals concerning the transport of materials, the restriction in working time between tides, and the exposed nature of this coast to storms ? Brunel found it necessary to construct Sprey Point to unload materials for his wall. It seems likely that unloading thousands of tons of precast and liquid concrete needed for 1.8 km of sea wall will be difficult to achieve without delays caused by bad weather on this exposed coast. Brunel had to unload stone which had no time limit before it could be used, unlike rapid setting concrete. The recent repair to the sea wall at Riviera Terrace Dawlish needed the use of shipping containers as breakwaters, which is unlikely to be a solution in bad weather for 1.8km of a new sea wall at Teignmouth. Programme delays and cost overruns seem to be inevitable due to these unforeseen problems.
Does the NR proposal take into account access to the beach and pathways for disabled people ? The provision in the proposal is for several bridges, and will cause interrupted access to the whole length of beach. This does not appear to have been considered as a hazard and hindrance for such users.
The claim by NR that the removal over the railway line of spoil resulting from cliff reshaping will be a problem in maintaining the rail service does not seem to be valid if one considers the amount of material needed to be transported in the opposite direction, which needs to be placed at the foot of the cliffs, and for constructing pathways. Surely the use of wagons on the line next to the cliff is the way to move material in and out of this area, by using short periods of one-line working at off peak times ? It also appears that in the past, material which used to be cut back from the cliff was not carted away but deposited on the beach by barrow across the lines to be washed away by the tide. This is probably not a safe way of disposal nowadays, but modern methods of conveying material from the cliff to the beach by conveyor belts might allow uninterrupted line usage.
The history of sea wall failures and cliff falls shows that in the past the whole of Brunel's wall from Langstone to Teignmouth has been affected, not only the section between Parson's Tunnel and Teignmouth. Resolving the problem with cliff falls on this latter section will not contribute a great deal in providing a more secure rail link for Devonshire.
NR's own assessment has shown that there are only two areas of cliff top which are a problem. Would it not be preferable to solve this problem by cutting back the cliff in these two areas rather than moving the whole line seaward away from the cliff problem, only to risk more problems to the line due to rough seas ? The loss of gardens on cliff top properties is a geological erosion process which will still go on despite moving the line away from the cliff base. It may be considered preferable by owners of gardens in these areas to have the cliff top stabilised by NR and receive compensation for their loss rather than allowing natural erosion to proceed without them receiving any compensation and having to bear the cost of future remedial work and repairs themselves."
W B Salter, BSc Eng. MI Mech E. C Eng.
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I love our beach. We can walk to it from our house which makes it feel really special. I love looking for sea glass with my family on Holcombe beach, because we do it together and I have lot of happy memories when I look at it.
I don't want the railway to build over our beach, I want to be able to enjoy playing on the beach with my friends and my family. Concrete is really bad for the environment and we need to save the environment so we can all live happy lives.
SAVE OUR BEACH!
Summer, age 5
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Everything - my favourite place in the whole world. The iconic ‘letters’ must be saved - we have pictures from the last 50 + years along this beautiful beach. Hope they can preserve as much as they can.
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I would like to make the committee fully aware of my view of the proposed railway construction by Network Rail. “SAVE TEIGNMOUTH BEACH” and just as importantly “HOLCOMBE BEACH as well. Before the Railway line was installed after the sea wall was built and engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, so many years ago in the nineteenth century and has without fault to the sea wall, stood the test of time. Some small cliff falls have taken place, yes, but great expense has been expended on the cliff faces to secured with wire netting to prevent further collapse and rock fall. The great engineer, back in the first place IK Brunel wanted to build the railway inland with the great foresight to envisage that some ill-informed Railwaymen engineers 200 years later would come along and destroy his magnificent work. Unfortunately, his hopes were dashed because the landowners of the time would not sell him the land.
The severity of wall collapse has happened at Dawlish yet these folks have picked on Teignmouth and Holcombe to play games with the lives of the very many dedicated residents of Teignmouth and Holcombe. Most chose to live here because of those beaches. The foot fall on the sea wall of these two beaches is colossal. Many walk it daily, jogger’s jog it daily, very many use it as a means of walking safely to and from Teignmouth in order to evade road use.
People chose this beautiful place to live because of the beaches. Not to mention the nearby visitors and let alone the far-flung visitors that make the journey to our beautiful Teignmouth to spend their holidays and spend days in the lovely surroundings and its facilities. Because Teignmouth currently has it all.
We moved here because we love the sea life. We own pets, dogs in particular because we can give our dogs a wonderful life here. We would not want to live anywhere else. Teignmouth is nicknamed “DOG TOWN” because it is so dog friendly. There are precious little shops and cafes that are not dog friendly, food shops of course exclude for obvious health reasons.
So, Network Rail wish to decimate our beaches and make them inaccessible in today’s stressful lifetime and build a monstrosity in the sea that washes on to our beautiful beaches and make them un-useable taking many years to boot, so we are told, to inflict the pain and grossness. Who is kidding who?
Do they not think that if it were a viable proposition the Great man, IKB would not have carried out such a construction? No Certainly Not! Just how long with the already proven track record (excuse the pun) do they think such a construction would hold up anyway! When they repaired the small part of damage back in 2016 at the Sprey Point slope they left the wonderful rocks that were formerly the construction of the slope mouldering on the beach and used unsightly concrete to make a relatively small repair. How ugly and unsympathetic was that?
So some so-called engineers want to decimate our thriving town for residents, regular visitors, regular holiday makers, town trades people, who in turn employ many people who are dependant on their work to support themselves and their families. Many accommodation providers will lose out after all who wants to make a holiday on a building site? So, the list goes on, for honest folk, not to mention the marine life that thrive in Lyme Bay who care passionately about their homes, businesses wonderful beaches and precious sea wall.
WE MUST ALL STAND TOGETHER AND STOP THIS NONSENSE OF TAKING AWAY OUR LOVELY SURROUNDINGS AS WE KNOW AND LOVE RIGHT NOW.
With Sincere Regards
Beryl M Holder (Mrs)
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Although we do not reside in Teignmouth but have resided for over 30 years in an adjacent village. I know that we are biased in our feelings as that our only use of the area is to walk our dogs, spend money in the cafe, help upkeep of the car parks by paying charges and spending money in the local shops. We are also not experts in cliff erosion, track layout, tidal needs etc. There are plenty of experts around who know a lot more than us mer mortals.
We are just people who enjoy the beach enjoy the views and surroundings and see NO reason what so ever based on the evidence offered by British Rail why any of this should be changed. They do not seem even to be able to define the new layout by putting a line of stakes on the beach to show where the effect of there proposed changes would be.
From honorary residents and very concerned couple.
Barry & Sheelagh
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I cannot believe that they are even contemplating pouring thousands of tons of concrete over such a beautiful iconic wall that has so much history including a true Devon legend in Dorothy’s Diamonds they are so important and should remain for all to walk along where they were laid. IK Brunel built something that was needed and turned it into something that is beautiful that people come from far and wide to walk along we cannot let them destroy this or take 32 meters of beach away it will destroy the whole area it’s absolutely disgraceful they are even considering to do this.
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I have lived here all my life and the beach has been a main part of that growing up we were down on the beach all day very safe nothing bad ever happened worse thing was when the fair came because it usually rained which spoilt all our fun my Children have played and swam on the beach, my Grand Children have played and swam on the beach and now my Great Grand Children have swam (some of them) and played (all of them) on the beach now the railway want to finish what whoever it was made the decision to close Our Beautiful Hospital (except for the few who still use it for NOW) and make Teignmouth the Forgotten Town? I certainly hope it doesn’t go the same way as the Hospital went? Will all the protests work this time? I certainly hope so!
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Any changes to the closed cell tidal system around our harbour mouth will have devastating effects on the fisheries and I will need a new job. I've had meetings wiith MMO officer Daisly May, Marine Licence Manager and expressed my views.
Trevor Hall, Teignmouth fisherman
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What the beach means ... where to start... swimming and laughing with my girls and the dog here has to be one of the most special things; walking and seeing how the weather and seasons change it; knowing that you are walking along the edge of Britain.
I don't want to be told I can't do this here anymore.
Looking out to sea knowing the traffic and bustle is left behind for a bit; watching the seabirds doing their thing; realising just how many creatures lived in that sand when they were cast up during the Beast from the East.
That brought home to me how this truly is a living coast and I can't bear the thought they will all be smothered by concrete.
I have walks and meetings with friends here all the time, old ones and new ones, I've met several just walking the dog here (as the dog has); its such a great backdrop for chatting, talking through stuff, talking rubbish and I like everyone have lobbed stones in the sea, skimmed, found shells, tripped over rocks and got my decent shoes wet.
There is something special about this bit because there is space here and its natural, it hasn't been sanitised and you can be yourself here.
I just don't want to lose it and want my children's children to enjoy it.
We were already in the process of buying our house in Teignmouth when I found out about Network Rail's plan. I fear for house prices and feel for all the people involved in tourism here, it will surely kill the lovely vibrant place Teignmouth is. I feel for those about to have their children who were looking forward to mucking about on the sand with them.
What's left of the beach will be choc-a-block in the summer and if you've got a dog forget going at all.
I don't want to sit on a beach where we're all pushed together like sardines in a tin - what's the point. The dog walkers (who are many) will all be squeezed out completely in the summer, it's going to trash our coastline and Brunel's heritage which I appreciate every time I walk here. The Teignmouth sign which were always inspect will go (an national icon of the British seaside) and there will likely be consequences for the whole length of coast, both its beaches and harbours.
Surely ramming nature back so brutally is not the answer. I like lots of people who love the beach use the railway too, I just do not believe it has to be one or the other.
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I am a keen walker, and find a decent walk can help keep me both mentally and physically fit.
I walk every week from my door via Higher Woodway road straight up to the skyline above the town where I can enjoy the sensational views over Exmouth and beyond, on a clear day towards Portland Bill.
Next I follow the countryside paths down to Holcombe, and continue down Smugglers Lane to join the sensational path by the railway back to Teignmouth. If the tide is out I love to walk along Holcombe beach, and sometimes the challenge of walking around Spray point. Visitors and friends get taken on the same 4 mile walk.
During these walks and on other times I meet lots of other residents and visitors exhilarated and excited by this vivid and glorious pathway, with beach and sea spray on one side, and imposing fascinating and beautiful cliff on the other, watching the seasonal changes to plant life, and looking out (carefully) for the resident falcon.
As a resident it is evident to me that the railway path (let alone the beach) is a very important part of the attraction of Teignmouth to visitors. A quick calculation tells me that over a year walks (long and short) along the railside path walk are enjoyed a minimum of 50,000 times!
To destroy the path and beach would be the grossest form of vandalism. It's inconceivable that such destruction could take place.
The planned replacement path will be well away from the sea, in a scene of concrete horror, fenced-in, and utterly nasty.
No one will feel exhilaration. It will be infamous to visitors and walkers. A utter tragedy. It brings to mind several other coastal monstrosities which I have walked and cycled through.
Yes, I know exactly how vile and unattractive it would be. How can network rail's miserable vision be allowed to happen? Only too easily.
Engineers must be challenged to find a better way without the destruction of the surrounding environment.
Concrete is not the answer.
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My Grandparents moved from Birmingham to Newton Abbott as my Grandfather worked on the railways before I was born.
I was born in 1961 and throughout my childhood I spent many happy summers on Teignmouth and Holcombe beaches.
The family hired a beach hut and enjoyed making sandcastles and swimming in the sea.
When I married and had two children I wanted them to enjoy the beaches and to walk along Brunel’s wall as I had done.
Almost 3 years ago I moved to Holcombe to enjoy my retirement and walking along the beach to Teignmouth was a major part of that decision.
I now have Grandchildren and the 4 year old loves the beaches as I did and still do. The latest Grandchild has just be born and I want her to enjoy the beaches for years to come.
A concrete walkway with caged sides is not the thing childhood memories are made of!
The beaches and walkway between Holcombe and Teignmouth are unique.
Please, please Network Rail realise just what you are doing!
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I spent most of my childhood on Teingmouth beach, so did my children and now grandchildren,
My happiest memories are of my time on the beach, My best photographs are of the stunning scenery & coastline we have around us.
The next generation are already being robbed of their natural surroundings and memories, it’s so sad to think they may never experience the wonders of this amazing coastline, leave it as it is, it’s about the only place you can go now for free, a place that makes you feel happy and alive every season of the year.
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I used to come to Devon on holiday as a child, my father used to do the same before me, and my great grandfather was a train driver in the steam train years before that.
I have lived in the area for 11 years now and regularly visit Teignmouth to walk along the beach & the seawall.
My kids have grown up waving to the trains & collecting sea glass as I did and I cannot imagine all this being taken away from us.
The beach pulls a lot of people to the town and is vital for their summer trade. Restricting access to the beach will have a negative effect on the local businesses there & they are already under enough pressure as it is.
Why not install some kind of wave breaking barrier way out at sea to reduce the force of waves hitting the seawall? Surely that must be an option too?
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I have been writing elegies in my head about sandcastles and paddling with toddlers and picnic rugs and reading with one's stomach wriggled into the sand, and kicking off shoes to run barefoot along the sand, excited dogs jumping in and out of the waves, evening swims in summer, exciting health-giving walks by stormy seas in winter, the smell of the tamarind, the rockpools at low tide, the miracle of sea anemones, baby crabs scuttling - even sand in the sandwiches or fish and chips after a bracing swim as the sun goes down.
You cannot begin to put any value on this, it is worth so much.
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As Mark Twain said, "Buy land they don’t make it any more."
Well they certainly don’t make beaches anymore and certainly not as beautiful and unspoilt as Teignmouth.
The beach is not ours, nature kindly lets us use it to lift our souls. And for the generations that follow.
Our children are already going to have to cope with what we are doing to mother earth…plastic in the oceans and so on…
…and to do something with this intent….to steal away this most beautiful of beaches is a heinous crime beyond belief.
It would be different if we were talking about a beach alongside Port Talbot….but to such a beautiful and unspoilt beach…it is literally a crying shame.
Shame on you Network Rail to consider you are above nature, beauty and the people.
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When I moved to South Devon nearly 20 years ago I explored various local beaches. Teignmouth & Holcombe were streets ahead of the others with beauty, peace & tranquility, away from traffic & pollution. The atmosphere & people so conducive to well-being & happiness.
I have learned to walk again along the coastal path & beach twice, once after having new joints fitted, & the second time after a stroke. This is my “go to place” for many things. Dog training, walking & playing. Practicing Tai Chi. Coming to terms with the loss of nearest & dearest, & the knocks of every day life. Enjoying the beauty of every day & celebrating being alive. Just watching the waves breaking on the shore.
I am convinced if this plan goes ahead it will destroy many aspects of Teignmouth for a huge number of people.
I do not want to walk along the proposed path at the bottom of the cliffs with the risk of rockfalls deemed to be to dangerous for trains, with a vista of concrete walls hiding the sea.
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We cannot avoid the inevitable conclusion that climate change is here. It is no longer a marginal issue and its impact is gathering pace. Understanding long term climate change must be part of any planning involving the coastline. This seems to be something that Network Rail have omitted or choose not to declare, or have they just ignored it? Maybe the ‘greater good’ is all the argument Network Rail need to justify their plan? There is a counter argument that requires the immediate attention of those of who could end up as collateral damage.
Sea levels will continue to rise and at faster rates than originally estimated. The recently added sea defences at Teignmouth were based on old estimates and the work proposed by Network Rail will add another dimension to test the robustness of those defences. I am extremely worried by all of these factors. Businesses and residents in the low lying areas of Teignmouth and Shaldon could be flooded out, courtesy of Network Rail.
How could this happen?
Teignmouth beach is capable of absorbing enormous storm forces and represents the best barrier available to protect the coastline and towns. Losing over a mile of beach could have devastating consequences. A combination of rising sea levels and Easterly storm conditions running unopposed down the entire length of the proposed sea wall to the towns of Teignmouth and Shaldon could overtop the sea defences and inundate the towns.
Network Rail have not guaranteed the future safety of businesses and residences in those areas from flooding. We should not be expected to experience the loss of any property as collateral damage caused by the implementation of any Network Rail scheme.
Our towns need adequate guarantees and therefore access to compensation for such an event, These guarantees must be legally binding and enforceable in law for the duration of any scheme being in place. In other words, for several generations to come.
Why is this?
A standard condition of all mortgages is for the property to be covered by flood cover. If insurance is not available, then it is unlikely that a property will be mortgageable. No insurance usually means no mortgage! If insurers think there is a risk, they will ask for an Insurance Related Request Letter, requiring customers to get a formal letter from the Environment Agency setting out the risk to the property. That risk is based on what has happened in the past and what is expected to happen in the future.
Has the NEW risk been established and what will happen if Network Rails realignment plans inadvertently create the perfect storm for Teignmouth.? Who will bear the cost? Will the ‘greater good’ empty their wallets to look after Teignmouth and Shaldon or will they shrug their shoulders and wait for our story to be tomorrows chip paper?
A concerned resident
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I have posted a video on YouTube taken last year of the beach on a beautiful morning where Network Rail plan to destroy.
I just can't believe how they can be allowed to do this, there must be a better solution surely.
This is the link to the video . https://youtu.be/2sC0POfFrZQ
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I have only lived in Teignmouth for nearly a year but from Torbay originally. I have been trying before this to move to Teignmouth for its community , numerous clubs and the amazing spaces being the back river beach, The Point, Teignmouth beach, the pier and most beautiful part Holcombe Beach. I learnt to swim at this beach in approximately 1975 and have also always loved the views from the railway lines on my journeys to Exeter. I travelled all over the world for 15 years and this stretch of coastline is particularly unique and has so much history attached to it with the Brunel Wall. Surely there would be an adverse effect on the environment and sealife where is has been confirmed the is rare species and the surf.
I walk and have even cycled along the wall numerous times and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this stretch not to mention the sealife. I have walked with friends, there dogs, my daughter, my family all of whom adore the place. Surely in this day and age of technology and qualified forward thinking engineers there is a way to retain the beauty of this piece of coast securing the safety of the cliffs and the railway as this would be a heartbreaking travesty for us and future generations. Once this is gone thats it, it will be gone forever there will be no going back there must be a way around this. One place that sticks in my mind is the Marine Spa that was replaced by the Coral Island in the 70s, which was a concrete monstrosity, we lost a beautiful building that could have been preserved for many more generations. We have lost that piece of history for ever please do not let this happen to this happen to our beautiful Holcombe beach.
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Where is the democracy in this country!!!! Who are network rail to take away our beach , I along with many residents and businesses in Teignmouth invested money in Teignmouth....I personally very much made my decision on the unspoiled area and the main attraction for me was the wonderful walk along the historic Brunel wall and the lovely beach.
How very shortsighted of network rail to think they can beat the elements and rising tides by moving the railway line further out to sea , this will be a very short term and expensive solution if this is allowed to happen!!
Unfortunately to network rail Teignmouth is just a small town that happens to be on their rail route linking south Devon to Cornwall, as always money is the priority and they have little concern for what they demolish along there proposed route. It’s disgusting that despite all local residents opposing this plan they will most likely ignore it and plough through what is one of the few remaining iconic beauty spots in the Teignmouth area.
We rely on tourism and visitors coming to Teignmouth and the Brunel walk and beach are one of the main attractions to draw people into Teignmouth instead of just passing through on the train.......destroy and take that away and they might as well close Teignmouth station as there is not a lot else left in the town to attract our much needed tourists.
SHAME on your network rail and local authorities for allowing this destructive plan to even be considered!!
It all smacks of large companies being allowed to take what they want for monetary gain without being sympathetic to local residents and the natural environment!!
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Here are my thoughts:
Reduce train lines to single track, with traffic light system.
We understandthat Network Rail may not want to lose money. Neither does anybody. Compromise is required. Existing scheme is unimaginative and insulting. The economy of Teignmouth supported by the town's greatest asset, shall not be sacrificed for the greater good of the South West in general.
Reinforce the base of the cliff, sprayed concrete (see John Grimes Partnership Ivybridge website to see what they do to stabilise cliffs at Lundy Jetty) to lower levels subject to overspray and introduce drainage to mitigate hydrostatic pressure. There are many ways to mitigate against falling rocks. There will be no slip circle, as the cliffs are sandstone. Do a drainage analysis of Woodland avenue estate above (how did we get this far without one?) and design suitable drainage to address aforementioned hydrostatic head. Hydroseed above, (not like the red cliff face at north end of Shaldon Bridge, this time actually do it) with rock anchored netting (as existing) to retain any rock with potential to fall. Consider rock shelters.
Introduce new drainage into the existing rail bed and Brunel wall to allow any overtopping back to the sea.
Consider placement of energy absorbing structure/material further offshore (marked by groin markers) to depower and break formation of potential destructive waveforms.
Climate change is presenting problems with difficult solutions. However the 'solutions' presented are insensitive from many perspectives.
I have lived in Teignmouth since 1974, i have been on the committee of Teignmouth Canoe club, I designed the new Teignmouth NCI Lookout Station, I have been walking/kayaking/swimming this section of beach (my personal favourite) for decades. I would take issue with the preposterous claim that the length of beach is dangerous for swimming or any other human pursuits.
Teignmouth people have scattered ashes of lost family members on Sprey point. It is a place of memorial. My mother is there.
Teignmouth 'Letters' is a special memory for residents and visitors, past and present, walking or travelling by rail and arriving home to Teignmouth Railway station.
In planning disputes, much is made of the loss of natural habitat for birds and bats and fauna. This writer is all for that, but asks what of the human element? Many people will care very much when the very soul of Teignmouth is replaced with a slab of concrete by uncaring corporates.
Furthermore, i believe the economic cost to Teignmouth's businesses, and local economy both directly and indirectly with be great, while Network rail get away with a cut price hatchet job, anything to keep the trains running, not for service, but for profit. Under a different system the railways might be nationalised, and we would get to keep our cliffs and our beach and our sea wall with all its access points.
It will only be gone once.
I am reminded of a song by an artist called Patrick Wolf called 'Teignmouth'. He wrote it on the train whilst riding that section of the coast, so taken was he by the stark beauty of that stormy day on that section of line. Get it on your Spotify.
Does Prince Charles know about this blatant proposed vandalism of our foreshore? The Duchy owns around 100,000 acres of foreshore in Devon and Cornwall. He takes a great interest in environmental design.
Do we have the names of the so called designers of this monstrous 30m wide slab of concrete so that when heads eventually go on poles, people will know their identities?
Does Matt Bellamy know what is proposed to happen to his home town? I am certain he will have many wealthy and influential friends, maybe pro-bono lawyers, and is known to be a charitable fellow. His father lives in Bishopsteignton.
I am proprietor of Teignmouth Architectural practice, technical background in marine, building, structural and Geo Engineering.
It will only be gone once.
Sincerely D Francis
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As a business owner, in Teignmouth, that relies upon tourism we are indeed concerned that if the railway line isn’t protected we could lose one of the main, vital transport links to our town.
However, having to lose the beach in order to do this seems extreme.
Having read reports and views it seems this plan, in the main, is to manage the cliff subsidence and not sea wall erosion.
Surely, as in some countries across the world, a system of avalanche tunnels, with open views to the sea, would protect the railway from any future landslides, thereby negating the dumping of concrete on the beach and placing the railway line closer to the sea!
European coastlines don’t disrupt their heritage or natural beauty they could find alternative solutions.
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Teignmouth is a stunning coastal town with historic Georgian buildings, long sandy beaches, and fresh local food.
This is what happens when you google Teignmouth!
Long sandy beaches being the operative words – according to Network rail this will be no longer.
I grew up 4 miles from Teignmouth and 3 times a week my lovely Dad took us to Teignmouth to swim – we always checked the tides and according to those tides our favourite place to swim was just before we reached Teignmouth Letters – sandy, calm and AMAZINGLY beautiful.
Since those times I have lived abroad surrounded by the most beautiful sandy beaches with a very temperate climate however when I experienced the most amazing experience of having a gorgeous daughter I returned to Teignmouth to bring her up, wanting to give my child the same amazing childhood, spending time on the most beautiful beach.
It is now 22 years since I have been back in Teignmouth with my daughter and it is no exaggeration to say that she spent almost all of her childhood on the front beach – when the tide was right we were swimming by Teignmouth Letters or the beautiful part of Holcombe beach.
When the tides were in we paddled in front of the Yacht club to spend our days – my daughter is now 22, we are 3 dogs later and we still spend as much time as possible on the beautiful beach between Eastcliff and Holcombe.
We witness seals, dolphins and habitats that most people do not know exist - limpets, clams, barnacles, hermit crabs, crabs, lobsters, seagrass and many people have reported seeing rare seahorses, there are also many types of seaweed- all that bring health and well being to all of us.
Since the prospect of our beautiful beach, that has the most amazing ecosystems, has become under threat from network rail, I have noticed just how many people actually use this beach – it amounts to many, a huge amount of visitors who come from out of Teignmouth, pay to park, have a coffee and build on an already struggling economy in Teignmouth, our main trade is of course tourism which provides 100’s of local jobs but with not enough beach who would come and visit?
The beach is buzzing all year round and the thought of it being covered with concrete makes me so very sad.
There really must be a different way of coping with the train line – having lived in a 2nd world country that took the environment into account, surely a company such as network rail can find alternative methods to deal with this issue that don’t have such a drastic effect on our Environment, Economy and OUR LIVES.
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I grew up in Shaldon and have lived in the area for all but 5 years of my (long) life.
During our time in Teignmouth our favourite beach was Eastcliff, which was safe for our young children to swim from and play on, just as thousands of do now.
Our grandchildren have belonged to the Surf Life Saving Club which operates from Eastcliff Beach. Now we are older our favourite dog walk is along that part of the beach.
Teignmouth IS the beach for thousands of locals and holiday makers and must not be ruined.
Who knows what would happen to the sand on the rest of the beach if such a dramatic alteration to the shore line took place.
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My grandparents retired to Holcombe from Exeter in the mid 70s and both lived out the rest of their lives here, for many years walking along the beach or sea wall every day to exercise their fox terrier.
We lived near London but came down here at least once a year for holidays, either by car or train.
Coming by train was by far the most exciting mode of transport – and we always got off at Teignmouth rather than Dawlish so we could enjoy the journey through Parson's Tunnel and then along the sea wall by Holcombe beach.
We would bathe in the sea nearly every day at Holcombe beach, sometimes braving a rough sea and a cold wind! I would challenge myself to swim from the “first steps” to Sprey Point and back – and on a warm day I would do that twice. In her younger days, my grandmother would be on the beach holding the towels and pouring out a cup of tea from the thermos as we emerged shivering from the water.
Time passed, I grew up, went to university in Yorkshire but still I came down to Holcombe for my holiday by the sea, still I swam and relaxed on Holcombe beach every summer.
I married and had children and we continued to come down to Holcombe beach for our holidays. My own children spent hours digging trenches, making sand castles, swimming and rowing rubber dinghies on Holcombe beach. We had picnics leaning against the warm stones of the sea wall and gazing out towards the Parson and the Clerk rocks.
Whenever we arrived in Holcombe, the first thing we would do was to descend Smugglers Lane and walk along the sea wall to Sprey Point or Teignmouth. I remember coming down at Christmas in 2003 and being shocked that the clerk had lost his head!
My mother had dreamt of retiring to Devon and in 2005 she inherited her mother’s bungalow and started to prepare for her own relocation to Holcombe. Unfortunately, my father’s deteriorating health and her own battles with cancer meant that she never fully realised the dream. However, throughout that period she spent as much time as she could in Holcombe. When she was well enough, she told me that her walks along the sea wall or along Holcombe beach with her little Jack Russel, Patch, helped to sustain her through these difficult times. Along with many other dogs, Patch loved walks on the beach best of all!
I knew how much Holcombe beach meant to my mother and so had a photograph of the Parson and the Clerk and Holcombe beach printed on the Order of Service for her funeral in September 2016. I told my mother shortly before she died that Holcombe was the anchorage in my life to which I knew I would one day return.
I am now in the fortunate position of being able to move permanently to Holcombe myself next year.
I had hoped to continue the family traditions of daily walks along Holcombe beach, summer swims in the sea and perhaps one day share that experience with future grandchildren.
It saddens me so much to see the plans to pour concrete over the historic sea wall and destroy most of the beach for ever. By doing this, the soul of the area will be lost – not just for me but for thousands like me.
Can this really be justified? Should we not wait until a better plan can be developed that would not destroy this treasured beauty spot that contributes so much to the well-being of local people and visitors alike?
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I moved to Teignmouth a year ago after looking for property in the South West for two years. I fell in love with the area and walking my dog on the beach was one of the reasons.
Taking that away will ruin the visits my grandchildren love playing with the dog on the beach all summer.
Please look for another way.
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As owner of the Thornhill Guest House which is situated on the beach front next to St Michaels Church, it would be a complete disaster for us if Network Rail go ahead with ridiculous plans to turn the beach into a concrete block.
There is no doubt that Network’s Rail current plans to destroy the beach would have a severe negative effect on the running of our business.
We invested into this business precisely because of our location next to the beach and these current plans would seriously jeopardise out livelihood.
Apart from the effect to our livelihood, there is bound to be a huge negative impact on the town itself, as most people are aware, seaside town businesses find it difficult enough to survive and taking away our beach would be disastrous. The simple fact is, visitors mainly come to Teignmouth because of our beautiful beach.
There has to be less destructive ways of solving the current problems with the train line, perhaps an ‘avalanche’ style covering over the tracks as you often see throughout Europe or a reenforced tiered structure on the embankment such as you see at the side of motorways.
I’m sure Network Rail have some of the best engineers in the country, surely they can come up with some ideas other than dumping millions of tons of concrete on to our beach.
Thornhill Guest House, Sea Front, Teignmouth
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We imagine British Rail has opted for the most expensive solution, and it will get more expensive as work progresses like all public sector solutions.
Further more it is a risk because,
Climate change will cause the sea level to rise,
It will be dangerous to trains as happened at Dawlish,
The sand on Teignmouth beach moves about 18inches sometimes in as little as a month,
Deeper water will spray over the railway causing trains to be suspended at high tides,
It is for these reasons why moving the railway lines is a very bad move.
In addition visitor numbers to Teigmouth is likely to decline.
The solution is to stabilise the cliffs where they are not stabilised already .
It would be less expensive and would not impact on Teignmouth in any way.
Roger Livett and Patricia Campbell
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I relocated to Devon in 2010 from another beautiful coastline in South Wales. I wanted to live in Teignmouth but with a growing, young family I had to consider their preferences. Now they have all grown and flown the nest I have finally managed to settle in Teignmouth, right on the sea front.
I am very, very lucky to live where I do and the thought of not waking to sea and the gulls each day is unthinkable now.
Two of my children have followed me to Teignmouth for similar reasons to myself, a strong community of locals, excellent rail links with the rest of the UK but most of all the beach and the sea.
I can't begin to imagine what the destruction of our beach will do. I understand we need a good rail network to continue to link Teignmouth to the rest of the UK and the associated tourist trade it brings as well as those who commute here for work and vice versa. I am not anti rail but I am anti beach destruction. Brunel designed a beautiful beachfront railway line held by a stunning sea wall, surely modern day engineers can work with what we have already rather than covering it with concrete?
The destruction of the beach, the wildlife, the views, the beachside walks, the cliff side, this is too high a price to pay. Every engineer studies marine construction, as part of their training, there are experts out there who have the groundbreaking technologies to build a railway line near to the sea without the destruction of the surrounding environment and these engineers should be challenged to find the best possible answer here in Teignmouth.
Concrete is not the answer, why should our beach die, this is surely to high a price?
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As a young teenager in the late 1960s I, along with a few school friends discovered the joys of snorkelling off Teignmouth and Holcombe beaches at Church Rocks, Sprey Point and the Parson and Clerk.
We enjoyed exploring the undersea world with its fantastic diversity of sea life.
I carried on with this hobby throughout my adult life and when I had my own family i taught my children to snorkel on the same part of the coast. We spent many fine summer days on these beaches with a picnic where the kids would have great times rock pooling, snorkeling, swimming and kayaking.
I have also had dogs throughout my adult life and have always enjoyed walking them on these beaches, now I'm retired I walk my dog there at least twice a day and enjoy the company of other dog walkers. Occasionally on hot summer days i swim there with my dog.
Railtrack's idea of covering these beaches with a concrete mega-structure is absolutely awful, talk about using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut. Not only losing these beaches, we would also lose the lovely sandstone and granite sea wall and staircases, designed and built by Brunel in the mid nineteenth century.
The shoreline is a very special place with its own individual ambiance and to lose this wonderful area would devalue my life.
Jon Haytread, Teignmouth
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This stretch of the beach in Teignmouth means everything to me. It was where I first fell in love with the area and was pivotal in my decision to move to Devon.
I have enjoyed many days on the beach in summer and winter - it's so beautiful and always different.
I go there at least once a week to walk and think - it is great for my physical and mental well being but more importantly it is a vital asset to the town and the thought of us losing it makes me want to cry. We must do everything we can to save it!
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