13 December 2023

Reconfiguring the temporary wave barrier concrete blocks at the Monkey Beach slipway location.  


As part of the Swanage Town Coastal Protection Scheme, concrete temporary seasonal wave barriers are installed by the Environment Agency each year between October and April to help protect the town from coastal flooding. In partnership, Dorset Council, the Environment Agency, and Swanage Town Council are working to reach a permanent flood protection solution. 

On the 2nd of November 2023 Storm Ciaran took its toll on the Monkey Beach temporary wave barriers, reports suggest that one large wave pushed the barriers followed by a second large wave which flipped some of them.

Swanage Town Council and Environment Agency worked in partnership to get the wave barriers back realigned the same day and it became evident that two of the painted art panels had been subject to damage to the artwork created by local artist and Swanage resident, Andy Knill in conjunction with local organisation Allsort’d.

The Environment Agency after consideration, and for public safety reasons, have decided to reconfigure the layout by turning the barriers 45 degrees making them more robust as a unit during another similar storm event.  Basically, the blocks are all to be turned so they are short end out – like at Stone Quay Slipway location.  This will happen on 20th December and will require some additional blocks being brought in.

Prior to the changes, Swanage Town Council staff will remove the art panels for storage whilst artist Andy Knill works with Allsort’d and Project Officer Sara Parker to redesign this part of the art trail, adding additional panels, which will be reinstalled in January.

When reinstalled the location still be a visual feast and meet the core purpose which was to make them stand out from the pavement for the visually impaired. Hopefully the community and visitors are not disappointed that for a short while the blocks will be barren.  Revisions to the accompanying art trail leaflet will happen to reflect the change.

The team from Swanage Town Council and Project Officer Sara will be on site from 10am tomorrow, Thursday 14th December, to remove the current panels and take them away to be cleaned and stored as required until the panels are ready for the re-install in January.

As the new configuration of temporary wave barriers will mean they cover more of the pavement surface area, the pavement will be closed next to the blocks and the public asked to use the pavement on the opposite side of the road.

“The coastal flood protection project and the art trail project are all about resilience and adapting.  Despite the damage caused by Storm Ciaran to some of Andy’s panels we regrouped, and we do so again as we appreciate the Environment Agency are ensuring the wave barrier blocks must do their job without risk to the public. We look forward to unveiling the new and art work at Monkey Beach in January!”  Sara Parker, Dorset Coast Forum Project Officer.

Engagement Events

The art trail leaflet provides more information on the artwork themes and artists at each location and this is available in a printed version at the Swanage Information Centre, Library and at outlets around the town. A reference large print version for the visually impaired will also be available at Swanage Information Centre, located near to the start of the art trail.

Four free guided Talking Art Walks with artist Andy Knill, starting from his art studio on Commercial Road, Swanage will take place 11am-12 noon on:

•           24th November 2023

•           19th December 2023

•           24th January 2024

•           16th February 2024

Have your say

The Swanage Town Centre Flood Protection Scheme will involve public engagement events and consultation. As design options develop there will be several opportunities for the public to share their comments and opinions with Dorset Coast Forum to help inform and develop this scheme. You can register for regular updates and find out when events are taking place.

Find out more here:  www.dorsetcoasthaveyoursay.co.uk/swanage-town-centre-flood-defences

 Monkey Beach Slipway

Sponsor: Chococo. Artist: Andy Knill. Groups who inspired the artwork: Allsort’d.

Photo credit: Andy Knill, Storm Ciaran hits Monkey Beach Slipway, Swanage 2nd November 2023