Posted on September 5, 2022
A new beach has gone down an absolute storm on the new ‘Welsh Riviera’. Over the last two months sand has been pumped onto the Rhos on Sea seawall to create a beach 16ft higher than previous, meaning it is no longer covered at high tide.
One million tonnes of sand were taken from a separate dredging site moored offshore and sent along a 1km pipe to be put onto the emerging beach, NorthWalesLive reports. The end product was well worth the wait, locals and visitors say.
“It looks absolutely amazing!” said one resident. “It looks like the French Riviera! But Welsh!”
Another added: “Better beach than when I was a child some 70 years back. Possibly now the best in North Wales.”
Rhos on Sea’s imported beach is designed to become the main sea defence along this section of the coast, protecting not only the seawall but also the properties behind it. Linking up with the beach at Colwyn Bay, which itself was imported almost a decade ago, giving it a feel reminiscent of the resorts’ heydays.
Part of the re-laid beach, between Porth Eirias and the end of Cayley Embankment, reopened on August 10. Pumping has now finished on the final section, towards Rhos harbour. According to Conwy Council, this section will be opened up in phases over the next few weeks as work on outfalls and a rock groyne is completed.
The new beach is part of a £20 million sea defence that’s 85 per cent funded by the Welsh Government’s Coast Risk Management Programme. There is scepticism over this however, using sand as a bulwark against winter storms and strong tides has been used successfully in many places, less so in others.
The stepped beach area, and enhanced fishtail rock groyne, have been designed to prevent this happening. Using sand as a defence is seen as a more aesthetic solution to unsightly rocks and seawalls that will never be high enough.
In the face of rising sea levels and increasingly violent winter storms, the £20 million scheme might be considered money well spent if it protects homes and infrastructure from costly replacement. Similar sea defence work has taken place, or is planned, along Conwy’s coastline: On Monday (September 5), the second phase of protection work begins on Llanfairfechan seafront, where rock armour is being extended at The Cob.
The four-week project finishes on October 1. During this time, the coastal path will be diverted at The Cob and will include some steps. The work is much-needed there – but rock armour will never have quite the same appeal as freshly minted sand gleaming white in the sun.