‘Hold the Line’
Here on the Fylde Coast of Britain, there’s a ‘hold the line’ strategy for our sea defences. There’s a long history of man-made revetments and seawalls being built to stop the sea from encroaching onto the land.
Look back through the history books and you’ll see that most of the sea defences on the Fylde were built or strengthened in response to flooding events.
There were serious flood events along this coast in 1927, 1953 and 1977. In 2013 there was a 1-in-200 year storm.
Here’s the artists impression of the new sea wall. This was used to show people what it would look like when completed. There was a copy of it on display in the information cabin. And it does look like this!
Cleveleys Sea Wall Build – 2007
The award winning Cleveleys promenade was built by Birse Coastal. They were later taken over by Balfour Beatty, who went on to build the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme.
Works began first at the northern end of the scheme, opposite The Venue. There was a weather monitoring argus camera stationed on the roof of The Venue, which was publicly available online at the time. This photo is from back then.
You might also remember there was a dropped section to the sea wall here, with a bit of an outbuild into the beach. The sea frequently came over the wall and the path was always covered in pebbles. Take a look at old photos of Cleveleys here.
If you know Cleveleys promenade quite well, you’ll recognise the next section of sea wall being installed. It’s the individual curvy bits of wall against the shower unit, near to the children’s splash pad at the cafe. The metal things are holding the precast pieces of wall in place while the reinforced concrete floor is cast around them.
It feels like the distinctive ‘flying saucer’ shaped shelters have been there forever. Here’s one of them at the north end of the scheme during construction. These shelters aren’t just somewhere to sit (and hide from the rain). They also mark the access points to the promenade.
Lots of Concrete…
A substantial amount of the Cleveleys scheme is built with concrete cast on site. Did you know there’s well over a metre in thickness of concrete underneath the stepped revetments alone? The wall’s designed to be effective even if the entire thickness of the steps were to be worn away by the sea!
The precast step units were made off site by a company called SLP Precast, just down the road at nearby Hillhouse International at Thornton.
…and Lots of Steel
Steel sheet piles form what’s called the ‘toe’ of the defences. That’s the bit at the beach end of the job. The toe stops the whole sea wall from slipping into the sea, or the sea from undermining the wall. You can see the individual piles in the left of the next photo, waiting to be driven into the beach.
The next photo looks through the gates of the construction site, along what’s now our familiar, lovely promenade. It’s amazing that civil engineers can make such finished order from what looks like complete chaos!
The familiar curved headlands were formed using steel sheet piles. They’re the foundation of the wall which hold everything in place. The rocks in the next photo are to stop the sea from knocking the piles out of place before the concrete is poured. They’re not part of the construction.
Diggers on the beach were a very familiar site during the works. The seafront was boarded off in sections for a considerable amount of time. Construction work carried on behind the fence, come rain or shine.
The Old Beach Huts
If you’ve been coming to Cleveleys for a long time, you’ll probably remember the old beach huts. They were round-about where the Pizza Hut is now, at Jubilee Leisure Park.
Anything to add?
If you’ve got any photos from the construction of the sea defences in Cleveleys in 2007 please get in touch.
Just email jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk Full credit given, of course.
Find out More
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