Ahead of the peak tourist season, staff from Network Rail and Teignbridge District Council have come together to clear up sand and gravel washed up on to the popular coastal path running beneath Dawlish railway station.
The section of footpath had become difficult to navigate due to the build-up of beach debris over the winter months, especially for owners of mobility scooters and wheelchairs, and for parents with pushchairs and buggies.
With the summer holidays fast approaching, both Teignbridge District Council and Network Rail volunteers decided that urgent action had to be taken.
Following consulting with the Environment Agency, work to sweep the path clear of debris took place over the evenings of Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 July. So far, around half of the path has been swept, and a second work party is due to finish the job later this week.
Positive feedback has been received from the general public, Dawlish Town Council and visiting tourists, with dozens of posts of support on social media. Following completion of the work, those wanting to enjoy the scenic views along the coastal footpath to and from Dawlish Warren will now have safer and easier access.
David Lovell, senior programme manager for Network Rail’s South West Rail resilience Programme, said: “Network Rail is committed to the local Dawlish community, so when we heard just how important it was to have the path cleared, we upped tools and set to work.
“So far, our staff, alongside volunteers from Teignbridge District Council, have worked over two evenings, giving up their own time to carry out this important work. We hope that with one final big push, we’ll clear the path of all sand and pebbles, ready for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a debris-free walk over the peak summer months ahead.”
Volunteers from Network Rail came from the team involved with the sea wall upgrade at Dawlish, which will provide greater protection to the railway and town from rising sea levels and extreme weather for generations to come. Work was suspended on the new sea wall on 14 July and will begin again on 9 September.
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