A huge sinkhole at a seaside beauty spot has revealed a hidden underground beach.
Erosion and landslides on the cliffs have left a 12m wide hole known locally as the Souter Hole. The phenomenon first appeared in 2003 as a sinkhole.
However, the hole has gotten wider every year since it was discovered, and has now grown so large that a hidden beach has been exposed as the sea carved through a crack in one of the cliff walls.
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One concerned local is Dave Robson.
Speak with Chronicle Livehe said, “Overall it’s growing pretty fast now and it’s incredibly close to the ‘worn out’ path people are using now.
Dave also spoke of rumors that a dog had fallen into the sinkhole – but no confirmation of such an incident has been reported by local authorities.
He also pointed out the dangers the hole could pose in the near future if no further preventive measures were taken, adding, “The weather carries it further back and it’s a matter of time before someone walks in.”
It looks like the hole has been surrounded by a railing to keep the public from getting too close. There are also signs in several places to alert passers-by to the dangers that the Souter Hole harbors if they are not particularly careful when passing.
“It’s amazing how there is only a miniature railing about 18 inches high between curious onlookers and a steep drop.”
The cliff area is administered by the National Trust, which has also warned walkers and dog owners to avoid the area.
Beach artist and former GP Clair Eason said, “This deep sinkhole near Souter Point, South Shields, began as a small hollow a few years ago. It grows into a huge animal. It adds even more drama to the rugged coastline. “
A National Trust spokesman said: “We want all of our visitors to have a pleasant, relaxed and safe visit to Whitburn Coastal Park.
“By nature, the coastline is constantly changing. Some areas are particularly prone to erosion and landslides.
“This sinkhole first appeared around 2003 and is regularly surveyed. We have put fences and warning signs around this sinkhole. It is off the main path that runs along the cliffs of The Leas and Whitburn Coastal Park. This area is known locally as The Wherry: There are warning signs and information panels for visitors in every parking lot at key points along the cliffs.
“We urge people to take a moment to look at these signs and stick to main paths to protect themselves, their children and their dogs.”
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