THE most southerly beach in Britain has reopened to the public this week.
Access to Polpeor beach and the adjacent old lifeboat station is by a track below 'The Most Southerly Point', half a mile south of The Lizard village. However, a rock fall, in November 2012, made it impossible to safely access the beach, and threatened the road access to the businesses above.
The National Trust commissioned engineers to look at the problem and advise on a solution. It was decided that reinforcing the cliff was a realistic way to allow both the beach to be reopened and the road above to be retained.
Rachel Holder, a National Trust ranger, said: "Work began in October, and involved an impressive ten-tier scaffold structure.
"This allowed the contractors to drill two-metre pins into the cliff and install mesh to hold everything in place.
"We've pulled back the granites at the top, and reinstated the wire fencing, but, really, once the vegetation has grown back through the mesh, things won't look much different to before the rock fall.
"With the last of the scaffolding removed this week, we can finally welcome people back to the beach."
General manager Alastair Cameron added: "We're pleased that we have been able to reopen Polpeor Cove in time for the this year's season, as we appreciate beach access is important to visitors and locals alike. Here the rock fall wasn't caused by the actions of the sea, but by loose material falling onto the slip below. It is used by local fishermen to store their boats and had to be made safe for future use.
"Last winter was a particularly difficult one for cliff falls, and this year we are being challenged by more rain and the effects of the recent storms around our coastline.
"In some places we have to let nature take its course but in this instance, the safety of users to Lizard Point needed to be secured."
Peter Hendy, of the Polpeor Café, said: "Being able to wander down to the beach below here is appreciated by our customers, and adds to the experience of visiting Lizard Point."