South Tyneside Council and National Trust host a Celebration of new Redwell Steps
Completion of the new Redwell steps access to Marsden Beach was marked by the National Trust and South Tyneside Council at a small launch event on Wednesday 16 March.
The lower section of the original concrete Redwell steps was demolished in autumn 2020 due to the impact of ongoing natural erosion affecting their stability. Wednesday's event celebrated the restoration of access to the beach via new, more sustainable, timber and steel stairs.
It was attended by Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, at South Tyneside Council, as well as children and teachers from Sea View Primary School in South Shields.
The 28 school children aged 6 - 11, a group known as 'Eco Warriors', joined Dorinda Kealoha, SeaScapes Intertidal Interactive Officer based with Durham Wildlife Trust, for some beach-based activities. These included a scavenger hunt to discover the geological and cultural history of Marsden Bay, plus a search for coastal wildlife such as seabirds nesting on Marsden Rock and bottlenose dolphins swimming by.
Eric Wilton, the National Trust's General Manager for Souter Lighthouse and The Leas said: "The National Trust has been proud to work with South Tyneside Council over the past 18 months to deliver a fantastic scheme to remove the old and deteriorated Redwell steps and replace them with new steps. The new steps provide continued and important access to the beach for visitors, while also being structured to minimise impact on the environment and allow natural coastal processes to function. It's been lovely to acknowledge the end of the project by gathering with some of the people involved, along with children from the local community."
Councillor Gibson said: "It's great to see the new steps fully completed, reinstating the Redwell route down to Marsden Bay.
"The scheme has enabled us to improve and preserve the access to the beach by replacing the former stone steps, which were extremely vulnerable to coastal erosion, with a safer and more sustainable structure. Removing the damaged concrete steps has also involved restoring the natural cliff face, with the new steps designed to have minimal impact on the beach and surrounding rocks.
"Now that the finishing touches have been made to the new steps, we hope that people continue to enjoy access to this part of our stunning coastline for many more years to come."
The £289,000 scheme to build the steps forms part of the wider £575,000 Marsden Bay Improvement Project - a partnership between South Tyneside Council and the National Trust and part funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund under the SeaScapes project.
To find out more about the Redwell Steps improvement project, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/floodmanagement