Dorset’s famous Durdle Door beach appeared eerily quiet yesterday – just a year after thousands of sun-seekers flouted social distancing guidelines to flock to the iconic beauty spot.
A few stragglers were spotted braving the elements as they descended upon the windswept beach to take in the sea air as temperatures plummeted to 10C and forecasters predicted ‘more gales and periods of heavy rain’.
Scenes of the deserted beach come just a year after thousands of sunbathers defied the Government’s lockdown rules and packed onto the beach as temperatures soared past 77F.
Despite the easing of lockdown rules, gusts of 60mph and rain appeared to keep tourists away from the once packed beach that became a magnet for sun-seekers during last year’s pandemic.
Durdle Door in Dorset appeared deserted yesterday – exactly a year after thousands of sun-seekers flouted social distancing guidelines to flock to the spot
The car park at the iconic beauty spot appeared eerily quiet yesterday but only last year it was flooded by thousands of tourists
A few stragglers were spotted braving the elements as they sat on the now deserted beach
With forecasters predicting more lightening, downpours and gales, business owners in the area are ‘gutted’ about the weather predicted for the weekend.
A jet stream of fast-flowing air is to blame for the gusts of 60mph winds sweeping the country.
Graham Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said: ‘The jet stream governs so much of the weather in the UK throughout the year.
‘We’ve been experiencing a high-altitude rhythm air, with warm air in the south and cold to the north. The low pressure accounts for the wind coming over the next couple of days.
‘We would expect the jet stream to be going up to Norway but it is dipping down south so we are getting the low-pressure streams rather than them being in Iceland.
‘Over the next two to three days there will be more gales and periods of heavy rain. There’s weather warnings for the South West and parts of Wales.
‘Although there is some respite predicted for Saturday – it is not certain that we will have nice weather next week.’
In May last year, air ambulances descended onto Durdle Door after four people injured themselves jumping off cliffs into the sea.
The four unidentified jumpers vaulted from the top of the ancient limestone arch, which reaches 200ft at its highest point, and were rushed to hospital in a critical condition, according to Dorset Police.
As the scenes unfolded, people packed the beach, despite police chiefs threatening to impose fines on those meeting in groups of more than two and flouting social distancing rules.
Last year, as temperatures continues to soar, tourists flouted social distancing rules to flock to the beach but this year, few were spotted walking in the area
A walking trail near the beach appeared deserted yesterday but only last year the path was flooded by tourists arriving to the beauty spot
The beach in Dorset appeared almost deserted yesterday – just a year after thousands of sunbathers flocked to the iconic spot to take in the sun
A few stragglers wore their coats and hats as they descended upon the windswept beach
Scenes of the deserted beauty spot come just a year after the beach drew thousands of sun-seekers to its beach
Chief Inspector Claire Phillips, of Dorset Police, said at the time: ‘We have had to close the beach at Durdle Door to allow air ambulances to land. As a result, we are evacuating the beach and the surrounding cliff area.
‘I am urging people to leave the area to enable emergency services to treat the injured people.’
Meanwhile in August last year, one family were left fuming after they drove six hours from Birmingham to Durdle Door only to be turned away due to it being closed.
Dorset Traffic Cops, the official Facebook page for Dorset Police Traffic Unit, had posted there were road closures to restrict access to the packed seafront amid the pandemic.
The statement revealed there were some ‘very unhappy people’ who had ‘travelled from significant distances’ as the temperature rocketed to 86F (30C) in the West Country.
The man and his four children had made the 200-mile trip from Birmingham only to be stopped at a road closure at Lulworth.
Dorset Traffic Cops said: ‘A colleague just stopped a gent who travelled from Birmingham with his four children to see Durdle Door.
‘They set off at 8am and at 2.30pm they finally reached the road closure at Lulworth only to be turned around after 6.5 hours in the car.’
Despite the easing of lockdown rules, wind and rain appeared to keep tourists away fromt he once packed beach
Thousands of sun-seekers rushed to the beach year despite social distancing guidelines still being in place
As temperatures continues to soar last May, thousands flocked to the coastal beauty spot
In May last year, air ambulances landed at Durdle Door after three people were seriously injured jumping off cliffs into the sea
With restaurants only being allowed to open up inside from Monday, many pubs, restaurants and cafes in nearby Bournemouth have also been hit hard following a tough year due to the pandemic by this washout month.
Peter Collett, manager of Bournemouth Pier, said: ‘It’s been absolutely awful for business, especially when outdoor dining was only allowed. I am gutted about the weather.
‘The weather is really hitting us hard at the moment, but you have got to be British about it and just get on with it.
‘I am still feeling hopeful and optimistic about the rest of the summer.’