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Commandos shift sand to halt shifting sands on Devon beach

5 June 2018
Royal Marines weighed in with heavy kit to shift sand… to stop shifting sand imperilling motorists in a Devon village.

More than 300 tonnes of sand, pebbles and dust were dug up on the edge of the beach at Instow and moved along the waterfront by the earth movers.

With the prevailing westerly winds, the sands on the right bank of the River Torridge drift along the front, build up at the sea wall separating the beach from Marine Parade – the main road along the sea front.

So much sand built up that it poured over the wall and on to the road and footpath; the local council cleared that to spare pedestrians having to walk in the centre of the roadway.

It needed a little more muscle to clear the build-up on the beach-side of the wall, which is where a team of Royal Marines from 11 (Trials and Training) Squadron – based just a few hundred yards away – came in.

We share the beach and seafront and we like to think that we are part of the community here, so this is just good community spirit on our part,

Major Martyn Heenan

At times, they’ve moved up to two thousand tonnes of sand; on this instance, they faced only around 300 tonnes which needed dumping further along the beach – just a day’s work.

“We share the beach and seafront and we like to think that we are part of the community here, so this is just good community spirit on our part,” said Major Martyn Heenan, Officer Commanding 11 Sqn.

“We are not going to beat Mother Nature, but we can help hold it at bay for a little bit longer.”

The Taw and Torridge estuaries have been used to train and develop landing forces since the middle of WW2 and 11 Sqn continues that pioneering work by assessing and developing potential amphibious craft of the future, training landing craft and adapting and modifying vehicles so that they can bridge the gap between sea and land.

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