Ynyslas Storm Damage

The recent storms have led to extensive damage all along the coastline of Mid Wales. Aberystwyth has probably been hardest hit with the Victorian Promenade being all but destroyed. There are countless photos all over the web and on news bulletins of the damage both during and after the storms hit, so I’m sure you’ve seen these. The sea wall has been ripped to pieces. The shelter opposite the Marine Hotel has collapsed due to the waves gouging a hole into the sea wall and undermining the prom below it. Flag poles, benches and other installations along the prom have been ripped up and tonnes and tonnes of sand and shingle have been deposited all over the prom and on the road behind it. The entire promenade seems to be under several feet of beach and many properties have been flooded.

I haven’t been in to Aberystwyth to see it for myself yet, but the photos all over the web paint quite a sorry picture. How the council will afford to rebuild the prom I don’t know, but the clean up will have to start soon and will no doubt take a long time to complete. I wonder if the prom will ever be the same again or if they’ll use it as an opportunity for change?

Of course many people jump on the ‘global warming’, ‘increasing storm intensity’ band-wagon, but I’m not sure if that is the case. This kind of storm damage isn’t unprecedented. Photos of a similar storm event in 1927 look almost identical to those of the recent days. The prom was all but destroyed then, so it has happened before, and will no doubt happen again. There has however been some talk of breakwaters and such like to help limit the damage next time a storm like this hits, but whether or not that comes to fruition remains to be seen.

A little further North in Borth and Ynyslas, we too were hit hard by the storm. It’s difficult to say how well the new coastal defences in Borth worked, but it does seem as though the worst of the damage was either to the south of the defences, right down by the lifeboat station or to the north of them by the toilet block opposite the railway station. Here the sea over-topped the wall, flooding the road down to the station. The retaining wall around the little grassy area just behind the beach here has been destroyed and once again, sand and shingle has been deposited all over the road through Borth.

The Golf Course has been strewn with debris and the wooden sea wall along it has been breached in many places with large holes ripped into it in some locations.

Here in Ynyslas where we have only natural sea defences of a shingle bank and sand dunes we seem to have fared better. That isn’t to say there isn’t any damage and the beach has certainly been re-sculpted. I’ve been for a little walk along the beach and I’d say we now live about 10m closer to the coastline than we did a few days ago. The entire beach seems to have moved inland.

Beach Moving Inland

Beach Moving Inland

The shingle bank has moved and is now piled up to the very top of the sea wall. There used to be a drop of about 3 foot on the seaward side of the wall, now the pebbles reach the very top of the wall.

The dunes have been eroded back by about 10m. These dunes below used to slope gently down to the beach but have been undercut and eroded by the storm.

Dune Erosion at Ynyslas

Dune Erosion at Ynyslas

The path through the dunes has been washed away, along with the signs and information boards.

Missing Footpath

Missing Footpath

The car park is still a lake, there is rubbish and debris everywhere and the sea wall has been badly damaged in a number of places

The natural coastal defences may have protected the houses behind them at Ynyslas, and for that we should be thankful, but they are looking quite fragile now. I’m fairly certain that repairing them and improving the defences along here will be a fairly low priority, so we can only hope that they hold next time a storm like this hits.

Mother Nature has given us all here a potent reminder of the power of the sea.

10 Responses

  1. mum says:

    Wow what a shame, when you have time you should try to find some before photos.
    I’m sure you’re right about being way down the list for any repair work though

    The forces of nature eh

  2. Joanne Hickman says:

    Hi Alan, thank you for putting your blog and pictures on, our thoughts are with you and all in Borth. stay safe…
    may i share some of your pictures with my family on FB as they have holiday caravans in Borth

    • Alan says:

      Hi Joanne,
      Yep, that’ll be fine, feel free to share the photos I took today with them, and thanks for asking. Of course, if you can point them to the weblog then even better, it’s always good to get new visitors to the site! 🙂


  3. Johnty says:

    Many thanks for the posts on Ynys Alan. Like other readers of your blog we also have a static at SeaRivers and any information is most welcome.
    Ironic that the first viewing of “Hinterland” just this week features quite a few shots of locations which are currently being “re-modelled”

    • Alan says:

      Thanks for the comments Johnty, I bet you’re glads to hear that all was OK at Sea Rivers.

      Whilst on the subject of Hinterland, what did you think of it? I quite enjoyed it, the storyline was actually pretty good, even if I was a little distracted by the fact that I knew all of the locations pretty well and I was looking out for me running past in the background!. I’m not sure where the little chapel was though. I recognise it but can’t quite put my finger on which one it was.


      • Johnty says:

        Thats good to hear. Many thnks. We survived the 2012 event albeit being woken at 0800 to be evacuated to the Community centre which was under a foot of water when we got there !!
        The following spring n summer, flora and fauna in the reserve were badly affected 🙁
        Yes Hinterland got off to promising start,looking forward to remaining episodes spotting locations with Su.

        Thanks again,
        John n Su

  4. Charlie says:

    Hi Alan,
    just wanted to say thanks for posting all the photos and updates regarding the recent storm damage.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and knew where to come for up to date information as we have a caravan at Synymor and were shocked to see the photos showing all the damage and flooding.
    Really appreciate all your hard work and effort.
    Many thanks, Charlie.

  5. George Price says:

    Such devastation ripping the life force from such a Beautiful
    The force of Nature is unforgiving.. Never stopping!
    The waves crashing like thunder upon such a Beautiful land!
    Bending metal knocking people off there feet smashing windows.
    making people stronger come together like one person
    communities picking up shovels & starting again!
    the life force back into such a beautiful land WALES a place a land I LOVE!!
    Keep Strong & God Bless you ALL>>>

  6. ian campbell says:

    aberystwyth promenade used to be covered by thick well cemented slate slabs but our councillors knew best and turned it into birmingham by the sea paviours set in sand they deserve our contempt and we told you so

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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