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Emergency work starts on river culvert at popular Welsh beach

14 Mar 2024 2 minute read
Tenby harbour. Photo by Beata Mitręga on Unsplash

People can expect to see heavy machinery on one of Wales’ most popular beaches as emergency exploratory works are being carried out on a breach to a main river culvert.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is set to carry out investigation and subsequent repair work to prevent flowing water from the Afon Ritec surfacing on South Beach.

Without intervention, the breach has the capacity to cause ecological damage and pose a risk to the public.


Contractors will start the first exploratory stage of the work on Thursday, 14 March, to establish the extent of the issue.

NRW became aware of the issue on Monday 26 February when a member of the public reported water flowing across the beach.

Jared Gethin, Project Executive, for NRW, said: “People can expect to see heavy machinery on South Beach in Tenby over the next few days as our team of contractors carry out exploratory works to identify the root cause of the surfacing flows, flagged by the public.

“The NRW-managed culvert conveying the Afon Ritec is thought to have ruptured at a point before its usual sea outfall. During high river levels, surfacing water on South Beach is evident and currently scouring a channel along the beach.

“Without emergency intervention the rupture presents risks to the ecology of the area, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, to the health and safety of beach-goers and potentially lead to an increased risk of flooding.

“Once we uncover the extent of the culvert breach, we will then be able to work out the best solution and proceed with repair work immediately.”


There will be some diversions and closures in place in South Beach car park and on the beach itself. NRW urges people to adhere to those for everyone’s safety.

The works are scheduled to take between two days to one week, dependent on the outcome of Thursday’s exploratory stage.

Afon Ritec was culverted in the latter half of the 19th Century when a railway extension, connecting Tenby to the Great Western mainline at Whitland, was completed.

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