Recent sudden changes in the weather are increasing the risk of landslips on the West Dorset coast, a coastguard has warned.
Rob Sansom, senior coastal operations officer for the West Bay coastguards, said both locals and tourists alike need to take care when visiting the county’s coastline.
Mr Sansom also said that people should not be risking their lives at the seaside to try to take photos or videos for their social media.
His comments come after a video posted on Facebook recently showed a walker slipping on the Dorset coastline and nearly falling hundreds of feet down a steep bank and onto a rocky beach.
Mr Sansom said: “Cliff falls happen all the time and the bigger ones happen more often after heavy rain or severe changes in weather – from wet to very cold or to very warm and dry – quickly.
“Sudden weather changes like this can make the land shift, and this is particularly prevalent in the area between West Bay and Freshwater.
“Some of these landslips can move up to 400 tons of earth and the smaller falls can happen with no warning at all.
“That’s why we try to stress to people that they shouldn’t be anywhere near a cliff edge.”
He added: “Many holidaymakers who come here don’t know the real risks because they don’t see it happen as often as the locals do; they don’t see footage of landfalls on the local news as often as we do. People think they’re aware of the risks, but they still tend to underestimate them. It’s never just one aspect that causes an accident. If the weather has left the ground slippery, and then someone comes along who has perhaps overestimated their abilities, those factors can combine and lead to an accident. But it’s not just tourists who can fall victim to this, sometimes locals can become overconfident in their abilities or complacent because they’ve lived here so long and feel they know the area better than visitors do.”