Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Earlier this week it was reported that no less than four vehicles had become stranded in the sea off Burnham-On-Sea in one day, caught out by very high tides.  Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence along this stretch of coast, which is a victim of the notorious Bristol Channel tidal range, the second highest in the world.  In Bridgwater Bay, where Burnham-On-Sea lies near the mouth of the River Parrett, there are extensive mud flats, and at low tide the sea can recede for over one and a half miles.  There was a particularly tragic incident in 2002 when a five-year-old girl died on the mud flats, and following this there was a campaign to fund an inshore rescue hovercraft.  There are now two hovercraft, named after the victim and her sister.

Flooding has been a recurring theme over the years.  The Romans once inhabited the dunes behind the river, having come here to try to reclaim the Somerset Levels.  In 1607 the town was seriously affected by a flooding event so severe that communities from Barnstaple to Gloucester were hit, as well as the entire South Wales coast.  There is a theory that the phenomenon which caused this catastrophe was actually a tsunami rather than an ordinary storm.  The sea bank at Burnham-on-Sea was breached, resulting in the inundation of around 30 villages, with attendant loss of life of humans and farm animals.  More serious flooding occurred in 1981, and following this a large concrete wall was built in a bid to prevent further disasters.

Burnham-on-Sea is a traditional family oriented resort, with sandy beaches offering donkey rides in the summer and a pier with amusements which holds the record as Britain's shortest pier.  The main beaches are Berrow Beach and Brean Beach.  Apex Leisure Park to the south of the town is a leisure and wildlife park with a variety of ducks and other waterfowl, walking trails, picnic spots and a range of activities for the kids.  Adults may want to turn to the Burnham and Berrow Golf Club for their amusement.

For a list of events in Burnham-on-Sea see here.

Webcam of the seafront and pier.

Map of the area. 

File:The sea front, Burnham-on-Sea - geograph.org.uk - 1510027.jpg
The sea front, Burnham-on-Sea. Photo by Ken Grainger, via Wikimedia Commons.

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