Perilous 40ft-wide sinkhole on English cliff exposes secret underground beach hidden below

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Erosion and landslips on the cliffs at Whitburn near Sunderland have left a hole that is 40ft-wide. The natural phenomenon is called Souter Hole. The phenomenon first appeared as a sinkhole in 2003.

However, the hole has grown wider every year since its discovery.

The sinkhole is now so big a hidden beach has been revealed with the sea forcing its way through a crack in one of the cliff walls.

The clifftop region is managed by the National Trust they have warned walkers and dog owners to avoid the area.

Beach artist and former GP Clair Eason revealed the sinkhole in photography while exploring the coastline near her home.

She said: “This deep sinkhole near Souter Point, South Shields, began as a small hollow a few years ago.

“It’s growing into a huge beast.

“It is adding even more drama to the rugged coastline.”

The National Trust has been forced to cordon off the area around the sinkhole

The dangerous hole is close to a clifftop path.

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “We want all of our visitors to have an enjoyable, relaxed and safe visit to Whitburn Coastal Park.

“By its nature, the coastline is constantly changing.

“There are some areas particularly prone to erosion and landslips.

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“This sinkhole first appeared around 2003 and is regularly surveyed.

“We have put up fencing and warning signs around this sinkhole.

“It is away from the main path running along the cliff tops of The Leas and Whitburn Coastal Park.

“This area is known locally as The Wherry.

“There are warning signs at key points along the cliff edges, as well as visitor information panels in each car park.

“We’d urge people to take a moment to look at these signs, and to stick to the main paths to keep themselves, their children, and their dogs safe.”

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