Vital coastal defence work at Blue Anchor on the West Somerset coast is about to enter its next stage after rock delivery was completed ahead of schedule.

Some 13,500 tonnes of rock has been shipped to the beach from a quarry in Scotland over recent weeks and work will now start on moving the boulders to the foot of the cliffs and reprofiling the cliff slopes. The work is expected to finish by the end of September.

The project will help to reduce continuing erosion and protect a section of the B3191 road. The fragility of this section of coastline was underlined recently with the indefinite closure of the B3191 at Cleeve Hill, near Watchet.

Cllr Sarah Dyke, Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The work that has been achieved in bringing so many tonnes of rock by sea so far is impressive, even more so when it has been completed ahead of schedule.

“Tackling coastal erosion is a huge undertaking and by providing this extra line of defence we are protecting the local community.”

Cllr Mike Rigby, Lead Member for Transport and Digital, added: “This has been quite a complex and lengthy logistical operation. Thank you to the project teams involved and to all those who live in, or visit, Blue Anchor for their patience while this important coastal defence work takes place and for staying clear of the rock piles.”

Access to the beach and slipway will remain restricted while heavy machinery is in operation. The scheme has been designed by WSP and is being delivered by contractor Kier and subcontractor Kelston Sparkes.