National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (2023)

Climate change has been blamed for the decision to permanently close a family run beach cafe which has been a vital part of the Studland community for the past century.

The much loved Middle Beach Cafe, a repurposed boat house with glorious views over Studland Bay and a four star rating on Tripadvisor, will be demolished in January 2023.

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (1)


National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (2)

The present Middle Beach Cafe was opened in a repurposed boat house in 1953

Safety of visitors can no longer be guaranteed

It has been a focal point for families on holiday in Purbeck since 1953, run by the same family for more than 30 years and there has been a cafe in the same area since 1904.

But the National Trust which owns Studland Bay and the surrounding countryside, has said it can no longer guarantee the safety of visitors after rising sea levels and coastal erosion have made the ledge on which Middle Beach Cafe stands unstable.

Changing weather patterns in the 21st Century, with periods of drought followed by torrential rainstorms, have caused ‘significant cliff erosion’ which is now close to causing serious safety issues.

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (3)

Chef Paul Brown has run Middle Beach Cafe since the late 1980s

(Video) Formby’s Shifting Shoreline

Cafe will close for good on 2nd January 2023

The cafe is now due to close permanently on Monday 2nd January 2023, with the loss of up to 12 staff and although the National Trust plans to open a temporary catering unit in the Middle Beach car park, cafe boss Paul Brown says he will not tender for the lease.

Chef Paul has been running the Middle Beach Cafe since the late 1980s and before that had worked for the previous owners as a teenager during summer holidays – as many Studland locals have for decades.

Even in November there are three full time members of staff at the cafe and another four part time workers, and in summer months up to 12 local people are employed there.

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (4)

Metal defences in the sea are starting to rust

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (5)

Cliff defences beneath Middle Beach Cafe are beginning to crumble

(Video) State of the Coast: Developed Coast | Conservation in Action 2022

Part of family holidays on the beach for 120 years

Paul said:

“The importance of this cafe to the village community and economy cannot be overstated – it may only be an old wooden building serving food, but it is part of family holidays at the beach for generations, with all the wonderful memories which go with that.

“It’s not unexpected, we have been living with this possibility for the last 20 years since the National Trust chose to go with a strategy of managed coastal retreat.

“The metalwork defences in the sea are rusting, the beaches are eroding and the cliff could crumble, and the National Trust has decided it does not have the funds to properly protect this stretch of the coastline.

“The Trust is not the villain here, but the local people are devastated – it has provided employment for generations of the village’s teenagers, myself included, and it’s also the focus for so many amazing memories for families who have spent years holidaying here.

“They say that they will remove the defences and allow the cliff to ‘reprofile’ itself, and that in the next three to five years they will replace the new temporary cafe with a permanent one, but a lot of things have been promised that have never happened.”

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (6)
National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (7)

Even in November, the views from the cafe are spectacular

Closure will truly mean the end of an era

Paul, who runs the cafe with sisters Jill and Tracey, added:

“I am 58 years old and don’t think that I should retender for a business I already have, but I would like to think that the National Trust will allow another local family to take on the new cafe and keep employment in Studland.

“The cafe has been a way of life for people visiting this wonderful unspoilt beach at Studland and it will truly be the end of an era when it closes.

“Studland has lost its fishing industry over the years and a lot of its farming, and tourism is really all that is left for the village. It’s not so much about whether I am here or not, but more about whether locals will still have a job in the worst recession we can remember.”

(Video) Protecting the Seagrass at Studland bay |

Campaign to save the cafe went to the National Trust’s AGM

In 2016 a campaign to save the cafe was launched by the local community who objected to the National Trust’s policy of not renewing sea defences and allowing nature to take its course. Many felt that decisions had been made without proper local consultation.

A petition with more than 3,000 signatures against the cafe’s closure was presented at the National Trust’s AGM but a resolution opposing the plans was defeated at the meeting. Since then its been a question of when will it be demolished, not if.

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (8)

Thatched cottages above the beach give Studland a bygone charm

“We are working in a pragmatic way”

Tracey Churcher, general manager of the National Trust at Purbeck said:

“Whilst we are unable to prevent the impacts of climate change, we are working in a pragmatic way, to continue to provide the facilities that our visitors have come to expect.

“The best way to do this is to move the facilities to an alternative location before the erosion creates safety issues and sadly we are now close to that point”

Plans submitted for temporary cafe in car park

The National Trust has submitted a planning application for a temporary cafe to be sited on the clifftop at Middle Beach next to the picnic area looking out towards Old Harry Rocks which will be landscaped to create ‘a comfortable seating area where customers can enjoy the views’. The existing café is set to be demolished.

Dorset planning councillors will be told that coastal erosion at Middle Beach has reached the point where the current cafe is now on the cliff edge and will shortly become unsafe, so a move is vital to continue to provide safe cafe and toilet facilities for visitors.

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (9)

Since Edwardian times, families have been visiting Studland for tea and cake

(Video) Long Bay, Beef Island Beach Management Plan

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (10)

A bygone era – Henrietta and Ralph Bankes on Studland Beach

“We will continue a locally run cafe”

Julie Peters, Studland project manager from the National Trust, said:

“Our café tenant has provided an amazing offering for visitors over the years. His lease is shortly due to come to an end and he has decided not to put in a tender for the new building, which we hope to have in place early in the new year.

“We have had some excellent submissions by local independent businesses, so are pleased we will be able to continue the tradition of a locally run cafe.”

National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion (11)

Visitor Geoff Mills Bowers has decades of fond memories of the cafe

Like stepping into a Famous Five adventure

Customers at Middle Beach Cafe, who have described it on Tripadvisor as having great food, friendly staff and stunning views, have been devastated to hear that it will close down.

Regular visitor Geoff Mills Bowers said:

“It will be the end of an institution. We have had some wonderful family beach holidays here spanning three generations and a visit to the cafe has always been part of that, with its views out to sea which are second to none.

“It has stayed the same for years – it could have become a nouveau riche coffee bar but instead has remained the way it has been for decades, it’s a bit like stepping into a Famous Five adventure.

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“We do understand the safety reasons for closure given the effects of coastal erosion and climate change here, it’s inevitable that there will be other losses here as sea levels rise and farmland floods.

“It’s a symptom of what is happening in the world at the moment and perhaps it will make local people think what might happen if we don’t all tackle climate change together.”


National Trust to demolish Studland beach cafe due to coastal erosion? ›

Map of Middle Beach Cafe

Why does Studland Bay need to be managed? ›

The National Trust manages Studland Bay so that there is a balance between the conservation of its landscape and habitats, the aspirations of the local community, and the demands of tourism and recreational use at the site.

What type of coastal environment is studland? ›

Studland's 5km of sandy beach is a popular tourist destination, owned and managed by the National Trust since 1982. It is characterised by an extensive ridged dune system that has developed since 1700 and forms a key site for coastal geomorphology studies.

What is the oldest beach cafe in the UK? ›

Middle Beach Café first opened in 1904 and has had the same owner, Paul Brown, for the past 37 years.

Is Studland Bay open? ›

*LATEST UPDATE* The National Trust car parks are open at Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach.

Is Studland Bay protected? ›

Studland Bay was designated as a Marine Conservation Zone by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in May 2019 in recognition of the importance of the species and habitats present to the marine protected area network.

Why is management of coastal erosion necessary? ›

from Erosion

Coastal management reduces the risk of flooding by slowing erosion, dissipating wave energy and creating defences to hold back waves. With climate change and rising sea levels, this is important to protect from more frequent and intense storms.

When did National Trust take over Studland? ›

Studland bay is known to many as a leisure destination with a four mile long beach. Discover how it was used during military operations during WWII and how it came to be donated to the National Trust in 1981.

What type of erosion is most common in coastal areas? ›

Cliff erosion is a common storm-induced hazard along the West Coast. While coastal erosion affects all regions of the United States, erosion rates and potential impacts are highly localized.

How was Studland beach formed? ›

The area of Studland heath has only been present during the last 600 hundred years where the accumulation of sand started to build up along the coast of south haven point. This process extended the expanse of dunes due mainly to Studland's Knoll Beach looking north towards Bournemouth with Zero dune to the left.

Which is the oldest cafeteria in the world? ›

It was established in 1720 and is the oldest coffee house in continuous operation in Italy, and one of the oldest in the world (the oldest being Café Procope founded in Paris in 1686).
Caffè Florian.
HeadquartersPiazza San Marco, Venice
1 more row

What is the most popular café in the UK? ›

The 50 Best Coffee Shops In England, How do these rankings work?
  1. Society Café – Oxford. ...
  2. Laynes Espresso – Leeds. ...
  3. Boo Boo Coffee – Birmingham. ...
  4. Origin Coffee Roasters – Porthleven, Cornwall. ...
  5. Foxes Café Lounge – Carlisle, Cumbria. ...
  6. Bold Street Coffee – Liverpool. ...
  7. The Scandinavian Coffee Pod – Cheltenham. ...
  8. Prufrock Café – London.

What caused Studland fire? ›

The fire was most likely caused by misuse of a disposable barbecue and campfire. Sean Davies works for the National Trust at Knoll Beach and visited the nearby Studland heath to assess the damage. He decided to take pictures of the aftermath to highlight the consequences of such avoidable fires.

Can you still anchor in Studland Bay? ›

The new voluntary no anchor zone will help to protect the seagrass habitat and the species that it supports. An interim voluntary no anchor zone was announced for the seagrass habitat at South Beach on 17 December 2021.

Do you have to pay to go on Studland Beach? ›

Knoll Beach is a well organised beach and, like all the beaches in Studland, it is owned by the National Trust. There is a large car park which is free for National Trust members but non-members have to pay (for car park details and charges see bottom of this page).
Knoll Beach Car Park Charges.
All day£5
1 more row

What is the Voluntary No anchor Zone Studland? ›

A review of Studland Bay's voluntary no anchor zone (VNAZ) is being conducted by Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The VNAZ was introduced in 2021 to protect the seagrass beds, and the animals it is home to, from damage from the dropping and weighing of anchors.

What rare species live at Studland? ›

Sand lizards are one of the UK's rarest reptiles but they thrive at Studland. The sand dunes here provide the perfect habitat because there is plenty of food (especially spiders), sand banks to burrow into for egg laying, and south facing slopes for basking.

Is Studland Bay a concordant coastline? ›

Along the coastline of Dorset, there are concordant and discordant coastlines. The concordant coastline runs from west to east along the south coast. The discordant coastline runs from Studland Bay to Durlston Head as the geology changes from clay and sands, to chalk, to clay and sands again to limestone.

What is the most effective way to stop coastal erosion? ›

By planting beach-friendly vegetation along your property you can help prevent sand from being carried off by waves. LIVING SHORELINES Living shorelines stabilize a shore by combining living components, such as plants, with structural elements, such as seawalls.

Who is responsible for coastal erosion? ›

What causes coastal erosion? Coastal erosion is typically driven by the action of waves and currents, but can also result from mass wasting processes on slopes, and land subsidence .

Who gave Studland Bay to National Trust? ›

On his death in 1981 Ralph Bankes bequeathed the Bankes estate, including Studland, Corfe Castle and Kingston Lacy, to the National Trust.

How many gardens does the National Trust have? ›

With 180 registered parks and gardens, we care for the largest collection of historic gardens and parks in Europe – including many created by the most notable designers.

How many stately homes does the National Trust own? ›

The Trust owns more than 200 historic houses that are open to the public. Most of them are large country houses or stately homes set in gardens and parks.

What beaches are affected by coastal erosion? ›

Management of Coastal Erosion Hotspots

Northern Beaches Council has three beaches classified as coastal erosion 'hotspots' by the NSW Government. These are Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach, Bilgola Beach and Basin Beach at Mona Vale.

Where in the coastal United States is erosion the highest? ›

Severity of the Coastal Erosion hazard. Louisiana has the highest rate of wetlands loss in the Country, with the State accounting for 80 percent of the nation's coastal wetland loss. [1] In total, the USGS estimates that Louisiana has lost approximately 1,900 square miles of its coast since 1932.

What are the fastest eroding coastline? ›

The Holderness Coastline is one of Europe's fastest eroding at an average annual rate of around 2 metres per year. This is around 2 million tonnes of material every year. Approximately 3 miles (5kms) of land has been lost since Roman times including 23 towns/villages. These are shown on the map below.

How long is Studland nudist beach? ›

Studland beach is located on the north-eastern tip of the part of Dorset known as the 'Isle of Purbeck', separated from Bournemouth by the entrance to Poole harbour. The naturist beach is the middle mile of a 3 mile long sandy beach backed by sand dunes and heather.

What was on the beach before sand? ›

Most beaches get their sand from rocks on land. Over time, rain, ice, wind, heat, cold, and even plants and animals break rock into smaller pieces. This weathering may begin with large boulders that break into smaller rocks.

Where does the sand on a beach originally come from? ›

Sand forms when rocks break down from weathering and eroding over thousands and even millions of years. Rocks take time to decompose, especially quartz (silica) and feldspar. Often starting thousands of miles from the ocean, rocks slowly travel down rivers and streams, constantly breaking down along the way.

What is the oldest coffee brand in America? ›

Eight O'Clock is the oldest coffee brand that continues to participate in the market today. The company was established by The Great Atlantic Pacific Tea Company to sell bags of whole beans to consumers. In its first few decades, the Eight O'Clock brand had won over more than a quarter of the American market.

What is the oldest restaurant in the USA? ›

The White Horse Tavern is a National Historic Landmark being America's oldest restaurant, having served guests since 1673. The White Horse Tavern was originally constructed as a two-story, two-room residence for Francis Brinley. It was acquired by William Mayes, Sr. and converted to a tavern.

What was the first cafe in America? ›

America's first coffeehouse was established in 1676, in Boston. The Tontine Coffee House on Wall Street in New York is the origin of the New York Stock Exchange. It is the building with the flag on it in this 1797 oil-on-linen painting by Francis Guy (1760–1820).

What do British people call a cafe? ›

In Britain, a cafe (/ˈkæfeɪ/), also known colloquially as a caff or greasy spoon, is a small, cheap eatery typically specialising in fried foods or home-cooked meals.

What is the most popular cafe in America? ›

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world.

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain, with more than 15,000 locations in the US alone. Starbucks was founded in Seattle in 1971, and its now-iconic name was inspired by the Herman Melville novel "Moby Dick."

What is the cafe capital of the world? ›

Crowned as the 'Coffee Capital of the World', Vienna has said to invent the process of filtering coffee. Housing some of the most beautiful cafés in the world, its coffee culture has been appreciated even by UNESCO.

What is the number one selling brand of coffee? ›

Starbucks. With annual revenues of $23.52 billion, Starbucks tops the list of best coffee brands in the world. The world's largest coffee retailer, headquartered in Seattle, US, was founded in 1971. At present, its operations span across more than 33,800 stores in 80 countries.

What is the number one selling coffee in the world? ›

Top 10 Coffee Brands in the World 2020
RankCoffee BrandRevenue (USD billions)
2Costa Coffee1.54
3Dunkin' Donuts1.37
6 more rows
Nov 11, 2020

What is the number one best selling coffee? ›

1. Starbucks. With more than 30,000 retail stores in 83 countries, Starbucks clearly is one of the leading, most prominent and popular coffee chain in the world.

What is the latest news on Studland fire? ›

THE MASSIVE heath fire at Studland has finally been fully extinguished, three days after it ripped through around five hectares of the peninsula.

Why did the Creek fire start? ›

“In some places, there was no time to react. People had to just pick up and go with almost no warning. We're lucky no one died.” The Creek Fire began on September 4, 2020, most likely triggered by lightning in the tinder dry conifer forests in the Big Creek watershed, a tributary of the San Joaquin River.

How did the fire on Fraser Island start? ›

Two men have been fined for illegally lighting a campfire on Fraser Island (K'gari) which led to a major blaze that burnt through half of the World Heritage-listed island within two months.

Who owns Studland beach? ›

Studland Bay. Studland's 5km of sandy beach is a popular tourist destination, owned and managed by the National Trust since 1982.

Can you sleep on Studland Beach? ›

2 answers. Camping overnight is forbidden by the National Trust on this beach, but if you're very careful you shouldn't have much problem with some determination.

Can you swim in Studland beach? ›

Studland Bay is a great, safe place to swim. Sandy beaches coupled with rocky outcrops make Studland great for other activities like rock pooling and snorkeling- and why not join us for an adventure while you're there!

What is the best part of Studland Beach? ›

Knoll Bay is perhaps the most popular beach in Studland thanks to its variety of things to do. Like the rest of the beaches along Studland Bay, it boats a beautiful stretch of golden sand, perfect for building castles or sunbathing on a warm day.

Why does Swanage Bay Need coastal management? ›

As Swanage is one of the few developed areas of coastline on the Isle of Purbeck, it is considered economically viable to carry out coastal defence works to protect the town from flooding and erosion. Coastal defence works have been carried out in the area since the nineteenth century.

Why does the coastline at Lyme Regis need to be managed? ›

What were the reasons for coastal management in Lyme Regis? The coast at Lyme Regis experiences erosion. Much of the town has been constructed on unstable cliffs, which experience some of the highest erosion rates in Europe due to high energy waves from the southwest and its geology.

What is the purpose of coastal management? ›

The Coastal Management Team has an overall objective to appropriately manage the risk to life, property and the environment from coastal erosion and related flooding.

Why are sand dunes managed? ›

Dune management involves restoring eroded areas and stabilising others using vegetation and fencing. The idea is to help, not obstruct the dune-forming processes to conserve the dune ecosystem. Access work, building boardwalks to steer people away from sensitive sites, is also important.

How is Studland Bay managed? ›

These are some of the attributes among many affords Studland and Godlingston Heath status of NNR and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The area is owned and managed by the National Trust's Purbeck Estate with assistance in the management of habitat and monitoring of species by Natural England.

How is Swanage beach affected by coastal erosion? ›

Swanage Bay

As erosion processes take place, the clay erodes away quicker than the limestone and chalk. This forms headlands and bays, creating Swanage Bay and two headlands - Ballard Point and Durlston Head.

Why is Swanage so special? ›

Swanage is a popular tourist destination with Blue Flag award-winning sandy beaches and beautiful countryside. Swanage is also the first town at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Britain.

What are they doing to Lyme Regis beach? ›

Dredging to maintain the harbours navigational channels will take place between 28 February and 21 April. Harbours provide safe mooring and launching facilities for small boats and are important refuges along the Dorset coast for any vessels at sea that may be in difficulties.

Where does the sand in Lyme Regis come from? ›

During coastal protection works in 2006, 30,000 tonnes of sand to replenish the beach was shipped from France.

Why is Lyme Regis beach closed? ›

THE sand beach in Lyme Regis has been closed to the public to allow for preparations to be made for the annual harbour dredging work.

What is being done to stop coastal erosion? ›

Stabilising dunes can help protect beaches by catching windblown sand, increasing natural beach formation. Dune stabilisation/sand dune management employs public amenities such as car parks, footpaths, Dutch Ladders and boardwalks to reduce erosion and the removal of sand by humans.

What is being done to manage coastal erosion? ›


They are built offshore to protect part of the shoreline, prevent erosion, and allow the beach to grow. Thanks to the dissipation of wave energy, the material carried by longshore currents are deposited behind the breakwater to protect the shore.

What happens when sand dunes are destroyed? ›

Long-term erosion

If too much of that sand is lost seaward and there is not enough new sand coming into the system, the beach will not be restored to its original state and the coastline will retreat landward, and eventually coastal property may be threatened.

Do sand dunes prevent beach erosion? ›

Sand dunes are a natural force against coastal erosion. They protect the coast against high waves and storms, and they adapt naturally to the wind and water in a way that disperses energy and protects the coastline.

Can sand dunes be saved? ›

For areas with existing dunes and low erosion rates, simply preserving dunes might be all that is needed to help maintain protection from storms. Other options include planting beach grass, erecting fencing, building dune paths and walkovers to prevent trampling of the dunes in multiple areas.


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