Pictured: Dramatic moment huge chunk of Jurassic coastline crashes 100ft on to beach after heavy rainfall Red sandstone cliff in Sidmouth is part of the Dorset and East Devon world heritage siteResidents claim it is the fifth collapse along the 95 mile stretch of historic coastline in a weekExperts claim cracks in the rock-face are being caused by too much rain
09:44 GMT, 3 December 2012
This is the dramatic moment when a whole chunk of Jurassic coastline came crashing down on to a beach.
The rain-soaked clifftop plunged 100 feet to the pebbled beach below at Sidmouth, east Devon.
The moment was captured by John Austin, 70, who spotted a crack in the red sandstone cliffs while out for a walk last week.
A crack on the surface: A large crack is visible along a red sandstone cliff in Sidmouth, east Devon
Going, going… The cliff situated in the Dorset and East Devon world heritage site begins to break away
Plunging to earth: Residents claim this is the fifth time part of the cliff has collapsed in a week
Changing the face of the landscape: Tonnes of rock and mud plunge down on to the empty beach
Armed with his camera, Mr Austin, from Sidmouth, snapped away as tonnes of rock and mud hurtled down to the empty beach.
Local people claim it is the fifth fall in a week after the ground became saturated with torrential rain with residents in Cliff Road seeing large parts of their elongated rear gardens disappear from sight.
In one garden a wooden shed sits on the edge of the fall – with its owners no longer going anywhere near the hut.
Security barriers erected at the end of another garden lay crumpled on the beach below along with grass and trees.
The latest massive fall has led to calls for emergency action to be taken as more heavy rainfall is due to hit the region.
The Dorset and East Devon world heritage site stretches 95 miles with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth's history.
Another section of the Jurassic coast at Charmouth on the Devon-Dorset border was also cordoned off after a crack was spotted in the cliff.
In August five people were unhurt after a landslip between Charmouth and Golden Cap.
And ten miles further along the Dorset coast at Burton Bradstock, holidaymaker Charlotte Blackman died in a massive landslide in July.
Mr Austin said: 'It's the first time I've seen anything like that.'
Another local resident Philip Field has been studying the cliff for the last 25 years.
Making waves: The collapsed segment of cliff is gradually washed out to sea
He was one of dozens of people who were at the scene at the weekend looking at the crumbling cliffs which have become a local attraction.
He said: 'We had exceedingly heavy rain and it was saturated on the top part of the cliff.
'Water tends to dribble out at various sections but the water cannot permeate the top section and it makes it unstable. It normally dries out before it comes down but there is too much pressure on it now.
'It is to do with the weather pattern. The sea is not doing the damage at the base of the cliffs. There isn't much anyone can do about this. Surveyors have been out looking at it.
'We used to have two minor falls a year for the last 20 years. But there are a lot more now. Around ten years ago there was another massive one with brought down a half kilometre of the cliff path.'
Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon county council's lead councillor for flooding, says it is 'only a matter of time' before the last protective piece of Pennington Point of lost.
The Sidmouth based councillor said: 'I am of the opinion that unless some form of emergency rock revetment work is carried out and put in place it will only be a matter of a short period of time before we lost the last section of cliff that is protecting both eastern town and Alma Bridge from south easterlies and, with it, the threat of tidal flooding.'