Beach Management Scheme

A 17-year plan to protect Bournemouth’s coastline during 2015 to 2032

Bournemouth Beach Management Scheme is a programme of work, planned from 2015 to 2032 to:

• Replace Bournemouth’s existing 53 groynes

• Construct an additional three new groynes

• Replace the groyne at Hengistbury Head known as the ‘Long Groyne’

• Schedule beach replenishment to take place once every five years


A contract has been awarded to build twelve new groynes starting in November 2017 and ending in April 2019.

The work is taking place from the eastern end of the promenade at Southbourne towards the Bistro on the Beach restaurant at St Catherine’s path.

Please stop and read information and safety advice on the signage posted near to the site works. If contractor’s vehicles are approaching consider using the signposted pedestrian refuges on the edge of the promenade.

Parts of the beach must also be temporarily cordoned off and closed until the excavation work at each groyne is finished and the beach is safely reinstated. 

Access and Safety

Disruption to promenade users and the public is being kept to a minimum. However, please take extra care as there will be slow moving contractor's vehicles frequently using the promenade and beach.

For reasons of public safety, it is essential that small sections of the beach around the groyne works is closed off for several weeks. This is to allow soft sand areas to consolidate and the public must not enter these demarcated and clearly signed areas. We also request that you keep animals on a lead to prevent them from straying into the closed off areas.

Please always take note of the safety signs, beach closed signs and beach cordons. When contractor’s vehicles are approaching, consider using the beachside pedestrian refuges just off the promenade surface. 

Please take note of any safety signs, directional signage and site cordons which are there for your own safety.

Beach Management Scheme FAQs


The works will require parts of the beach to be cordoned off for safety reasons. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure the promenade is accessible for seafront users, there may be times when access is restricted. Please take note of safety signs that will be clearly displayed during the works.


A phased programme of work is  planned for the next 17 years to replace the existing 53 groynes and install an additional three. We are also replacing the groyne at Hengistbury Head known as the Long Groyne. 

There will be beach replenishment taking place once every five years. The first phase started in autumn 2015 until 2020 with phases two and three carried out over a further 12 years. Work will take place in the autumn, winter and spring to avoid the busy summer season.


The groynes would eventually deteriorate and no longer be effective. The beach would eventually be washed away. The sea wall would become exposed and disintegrate, exposing the cliffs to further erosion.


The work is required to ensure that Bournemouth’s coastline continues to be protected from coastal erosion in the future.

The sea wall and groynes alone will not protect the coastline. The beach is eroded over time by wave action and the longshore drift, so sand must be dredged and pumped back on to the beach to maintain it.

It is important that we maintain the beach as it is one of the UK’s biggest attractions. There is an estimated 4.5 million visitors per year as well as being enjoyed by thousands of residents.


Initially the sand may look darker than the current beach but will lighten to a normal colour with exposure to oxygen and daylight.

In the first few weeks very small cliffs may appear as the wave action sorts the new sand. These will disappear as the sand is moved by wind and waves into a natural beach profile. The new sand has a similar particle size to the existing beach.


The cost of phase one (2015-2020) is £17.5m approximately. The total cost of the entire project (phases 1 – 3) is £50m approximately. The majority is funded by the Environment Agency and a small proportion by Council funding and local levy.


Sand is dredged from a licensed area of seabed e.g to the South East of the Isle of Wight. It is brought by dredger close to the section of beach where it will be deposited. The sand is then pumped through a long pipe on to the beach. The sand is mixed with water to assist it being pumped. As the mixture exits the pipe the water flows back in to the sea leaving the new sand behind. The beach is then levelled using bulldozers.


The life span of a groyne is around 25 years. They must be replaced periodically to ensure the coastline continues to be protected. The process for removing and replacing each groyne can take up to two months.


Groynes were originally installed along the coastline in 1915. Groynes control beach material and prevent undermining of the promenade seawall.

Groynes interrupt wave action and protect the beach from being washed away by longshore drift. Longshore drift is the wave action that slowly erodes the beach.


The first phase (October 2015 to April 2020) involves the replacement of 30 groynes along the coast from Southbourne to Hengistbury Head. Beach replenishment has taken place between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers and to the east of Boscombe Pier. We are replacing 320,000 cubic metres of sand during autumn/winter 2015/16.

The second and third phases (up to year 2032) will replace the remaining 29 groynes along the seafront from Southbourne to Alum Chine. There will also be a further two beach replenishment operations. The locations of the future beach replenishments will be determined nearer the time. We continually monitor beach levels and will assess which areas need attention.