Princes Way is the seafront promenade road, going south from Cleveleys to Blackpool. Technically it’s in Blackpool but it feels like it’s part of Cleveleys.
Cleveleys is in the Borough of Wyre, part of Lancashire County Council. The boundary with the unitary authority of Blackpool is at Kingsway. It’s where Cleveleys South Promenade ends and Princes Way begins. Princes Way is parallel to Queen’s Promenade at the landward side of Anchorsholme Park.
Princes Way Promenade
The final phase of the stepped Cleveleys sea defences was completed in 2010. You’ll see that the steps end at the boundary with Blackpool, near the shipwreck memorial. There’s a little pumping station building there, and a hump in the road which forms part of the sea defences.
A major civil engineering project was recently completed, to rebuild the sea defences and sea wall at Princes Way. The new scheme joins the stepped sea defences at Cleveleys and continues to the tram stop building at Little Bispham. The seafront and road was closed from Anchorsholme Park through to the tramline crossing at Little Bispham from spring 2014 to late 2017 for the construction works.
Spreading the energy of the tide
The new sea defences are built with ‘wave breaker’ units to dissipate the energy of the tide.
See high tide in action at the new sea defences in the clip below.
Between the wave breaker units, concrete staircases give access to the beach. When tide conditions aren’t safe for you to access the beach a ‘no entry’ sign is hung across the steps on a chain. Please take care and obey the guidance.
The new Princes Way Promenade is wide and attractive for everyone to enjoy. The stepped arrangement between the upper and lower levels is part of the design of the flood protection – the added advantage is that it provides endless seating too.
There’s plenty of parking, with a glorious view right across the beach and sea. It’s long-stay pay and display, with bays at both sides of the highway. The meters are on the landward side of the road, away from the prevailing weather.
Another enormous civil engineering project to improve bathing waters by United Utilities is almost finished in Anchorsholme Park. More about United Utilities works in Anchorsholme Park
The Old Sea Wall at Princes Way
It’s amazing how quickly you forget the old once a new project is complete. The landscape has been altered quite dramatically at Princes Way Promenade with the construction of the new sea defences. In the next photos you can see what it was like before the rebuild.
The join between the stepped revetment at Cleveleys and the new smooth revetment at Anchorsholme isn’t so obvious now. Before the new Anchorsholme revetment was built it was very obvious, as you can see in the next photo –
Up to early 2014, the highway at Princes Way was much lower than it is now. It was set against a high brick wall which retained the soil at Anchorsholme Park. You can just see it at the left of this photo –
Why the sea wall was rebuilt
Anyone who lives locally or who came to the area frequently back then will know why the promenade was rebuilt.
At high tide, the waves hit the sea wall head on. They bounced upwards, taking sea water high into the air and easily overtopping onto the road, which frequently flooded. It might have been great to watch the sea coming over, particularly on a sunny day, and made for good photos. But at high tide and with strong winds the road did flood very easily. The barriers were frequently closed across the road, diverting traffic elsewhere. It didn’t take much for the flood water to reach beyond Princes Way. There was flooding to roads and infrastructure like drains and services, and properties on more than one occasion.
These few photos are by no means the worst that the overtopping got. However, not only is it not safe to get too close taking photographs, it’s unpleasant, cold and wet! It’s not good for your car either, but we braved the weather in February 2012 to capture this clip –
This photo was taken inside a property, during a really bad storm –
Not Much Protection against Rough Seas!
Have a look at this video clip below, taken back in December 2013.
You can just see the stepped sea defences of Cleveleys in the foreground, where the impact of the waves is reduced. Then the old sea wall at Princes Way behind it – it’s taking a right battering!
Can you see how the energy of the sea is affected by the two adjacent types of construction?
The steps in the foreground at Cleveleys disperse the energy of the waves. Although water may come up and over the first level it’s in a sweeping trickle rather than a destructive surge. The promenade is deliberately designed in layers to trap the overspill of waves. The rear wall is the last line of defence, designed to contain the sea in the absolute worst of conditions.
The waves hit the adjoining old wall at Princes Way with force, spraying up in the air and over the wall onto the promenade. The design of the new sea defences at Anchorsholme reduces this overtopping.
Princes Way was a Very Popular Spot
Before the sea defences were rebuilt, there was a lot of free parking along the seafront at Princes Way. It was a magnet to visitors, plus legions of campervans and motorhomes. The really wide promenade area was (and still is) popular for walking, cycling, fishing and setting up camp for a day out at the seaside.
While you’re here…
Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Cleveleys website for more of the latest updates.
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