Pensioner finally leaves cottage - that's about to fall off a cliff

Property before demolition

Bryony Nierop-Reading, a 68-year-old grandmother, was finally forced to let go of her north Norfolk bungalow this week. Her closest neighbours moved out two years ago, as the cliff eroded and the row of bungalows moved closer and closer to the end of the cliff.

Sadly her three-bedroom home was left hanging over a 80 foot cliff after the storm surge last week, and today it was demolished.


Nierop-Reading, a retired teacher, told the Daily Mail she had paid £25,000 for her Happisburgh home in 2008, when it was 20 feet from the edge of the cliff. As the sea encroached, she was offered £53,000 to leave the house, through a government compensation scheme, but she turned the money down and stayed on.

In March she told the BBC that she was starting to feel threatened by the encroaching coastline. Then three weeks ago she decided that her bedroom wasn't safe, so she moved to a different room further from the edge of the cliff. On the night of the storm surge she wisely decided to spend the night in a mobile home just in case. She was never able to move back home.

She told the Eastern Daily Press she had no regrets about turning down the money as she had enjoyed the 'million pound view' for five years.

Not alone

She is not alone in losing her property this way. Coastal erosion is at work on 17% of the UK's coastline (and 30% of the coastline in England).

The storm surge also destroyed several bungalows along the coast in Hemsby in Norfolk. Many of the homeowners there were caught off-guard and lost everything that night.

Even aside from the storm surge, there are houses falling into the sea all around us. In July we reported on the four-bedroom house in Devon, which sold for £33,500 because it was getting dangerously close to the edge of the eroding cliff, and had been deemed unsafe to sleep in. One of the homes on the same road has already fallen over the edge.

In Cayton Bay near Scarborough, a landslip five years ago left bungalows teetering on the edge of a cliff and three properties had to be demolished.

Meanwhile, the village of Skipsea has been gradually falling into the sea over the past five years - and the land erodes at roughly two meters a year.

But one of the most dramatic examples of coastal erosion affected the Norfolk seaside town of Eccles-on-Sea. It has now fallen almost entirely into the sea. The church tower succumbed to the waves in 1895 and can be seen at low tide. Occasionally skeletons from the graveyard wash up on shore.
Read Full Story