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Cliff Safety

Dunwich Cliffs, view north from cliff top

The cliffs along the Suffolk coast are some of the fastest eroding in western Europe and climbing on them or walking close to them can be extremely dangerous.

Coastal erosion is a key force for change in the landscape. Some parts of the coast are eroding quickly, while in other areas vast shingle beaches have built up – home to many rare and specialised plants and nesting seabirds.

Please stay away from cliff tops and bottoms. Cliffs can be very unstable even if they look safe. It is extremely dangerous to walk close to cliffs or to climb them.

Take notice of signs and notices warning you of hazards. These have been put in place to keep you safe. In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

HM Coastguard Safety Advice

  1. Do not attempt to climb up or down cliffs – unless you are properly equipped and trained to do so and do not attempt to climb cliffs as a short cut back to the top and again.
  2. Make sure that you are properly equipped for walking along coastal paths – Remember to wear sturdy shoes or boots and check the weather forecast and tidal times before you set out. Carry a fully charged mobile phone and tell someone where you are going and what time you will be home.
  3. Only use the designated paths – take notice of any warning signs and fences in place, be responsible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.
  4. Keep your dog on a lead near cliffs – If they pick up the scent of an animal or hear something on the coast below it doesn’t take much for them to follow their nose. Above all, if your dog does fall down a cliff or starts getting swept out to sea, please do not attempt to rescue it yourself. Nine times out of ten your dog will rescue itself and return to shore alive, but tragically some owners do not. Coastguards are trained in all types of rescue on the coast, including dog rescues.
  5. Stay away from the bottom of cliffs – when standing at the bottom of a cliff, we would always advise people that they should not stand less than the height of the cliff away. That means that if the cliff is 25 metres high, don’t go closer than 25 metres towards it.