A project to improve and preserve access to a South Tyneside coastal attraction has stepped up a gear this week.
Work is starting on the construction of new timber and steel stairs, which will see the Redwell access to Marsden Bay reinstated this winter.
The lower section of the original concrete Redwell steps was demolished last autumn due to the impact of ongoing natural erosion affecting their stability.
Now the area will benefit from the creation of a safer, more sustainable access, with the works commencement scheduled at this time to avoid the bird breeding and nesting seasons.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, at South Tyneside Council, said: "It is great to see work starting on the new Redwell route to Marsden Bay.
"This marks a key milestone in what has been a carefully planned project to improve and preserve access to the beach, while remaining sympathetic to this coastal environment which continues to be extremely vulnerable to erosion and is home to seabird colonies."
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.
Improvements included the demolition of the disused, dilapidated former lifeguard station and canoe store, which due to serious coastal erosion was at an increasing risk of collapse.
Councillor Gibson added: "The removal of both the damaged lower steps and these unsightly buildings has not only made way for a safer, more sustainable access point, but has enabled us to restore the rockface along this stretch of cliffs back to its natural state.
"Marsden Bay holds a special place in the hearts of so many people. We are excited to see the new steps completed so that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy this area in the future."
Eric Wilton, General Manager of National Trust - South of Tyne Group, said: "It's fantastic to see the final stages of the Redwell steps project begin. Marsden Beach is enjoyed by a great number of people all year round and the new steps will enable better access to the coast.
"It's been great to build on the partnership we have with South Tyneside Council. I look forward to seeing the project completed, providing the opportunity for more people to enjoy and access this stunning nature-rich coastline."
The new steps are being built by Esh Construction after the Royal Haskoning designs were granted planning permission last month. Construction is expected to take up to 12 weeks.
Steve Conn, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, said: "We are pleased to be working in partnership with South Tyneside Council as one of our long-standing and valued clients within the region. Restoring access to Marsden Bay via the Redwell route is a key improvement work ongoing in the area and we're proud to be involved in preserving the location's heritage."
While the Redwell route remains inaccessible, visitors are advised to continue using Marsden Grotto steps or the access from Camel Island. Visitors are strongly advised to check tide times and follow advice on staying safe at the seaside before visiting.