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Landslide beach restrictions lifted
Restrictions preventing the public accessing beaches along the world famous Jurassic Coast following the death of a young woman in a landslide have been lifted.
The safety measures were introduced on Tuesday after Charlotte Blackman, 22, died when she was crushed by 400 tonnes of rock that fell on her during a trip to a Dorset beach.
Miss Blackman, from Heanor, Derbyshire, was on holiday with her family and boyfriend when part of a 160ft-high cliff-face collapsed and sent a mountain of rocks plummeting on to Hive Beach. Her body was found under rubble at the popular holiday spot in Burton Bradstock following a nine-hour search operation.
The authorities closed the South West Coast Path, between Lyme Regis and West Bexington. Dorset County Council announced it has now been reopened, except for the stretch between the Freshwater Holiday Park and Hive beach. The council said this would be reviewed following further safety assessments.
Landslips and rockfalls are common along this part of the south coast but heavy rainfall combined with the recent heatwave has left some of the cliffs in West Dorset in an unstable condition - with a potentially heightened risk of additional landslides, mudslides and rock falls.
Miles Butler, director for environment at Dorset County Council, said: "We closed areas on Tuesday as a precaution following the tragic incident at Burton Bradstock. However, while there is always a risk of landslips along the Jurassic Coast, we now feel it is appropriate to lift these restrictions.
"As always, we would urge people to avoid the cliffs and mudslides and heed the warning signs along the coast. Those signs are there for a reason and we would strongly advise people to take notice of what they are saying.
"If visitors are careful in those areas Dorset is a wonderful and interesting holiday location with a great deal to offer, and beautiful family friendly beaches."
Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, said: "West Dorset is open to welcome visitors, our main bathing beaches at Charmouth and Lyme Regis are open. The advice is come and visit, but if you are exploring the coast be aware of the risk of rockfalls, follow the advice signs and keep away from some areas."
Additional warning signs have been put up along the coast, and additional public notices are being prepared for tourist information centres and other strategic points in the area.