The South West tourist hotspots at risk of being 'lost to sea' due to climate change

  • Watch Richard Lawrence's report

Businesses and homes across the West Country could be lost as they continue to battle with rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

As world leaders try to tackle these issues at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, ITV West Country visited areas in the region which are experiencing issues like coastal erosion and flooding due to high sea levels.

Leonard's Cove Holiday Park on the Devonshire coast which offers tourists stunning sea views from the clifftops has seen cracks appear in its chalets.

General manager of the park, Chris Aldridge, said: "The concerns are that long-term we are going to lose more of the edge here at Leonard's Cove and that's going to have an impact on the front line of our accommodation.

"In the small time we've been here, we've seen some some bits of debris and fascia here on the cliff top accommodation going into the sea."

Every time there is a storm it raises worries, so much so that the owners have now commissioned their own survey to estimate just how many years the properties have left on the edge.

It is not just the chalets on the cliff edge that have been impacted by climate change - there have been two floods in the past five years in the reception area as a result of heavy downfalls.

A neighbour of the park also lost a large part of her garden in recent years.

The stretch of neighbour coast is closely monitored by Plymouth University. Professor Gerd Masselink said: "We will have rising sea levels, we will have increased variability in the wave climate and as a result, we will have increased coastal erosion and flooding.

"Events that may happen every 50 or 100 years will increasingly happen and may even become an annual event."

Bude is the most sensitive area in the UK to rising sea levels. Credit: ITV News

Bude on the North Cornwall coast is another area suffering climate impacts. It is the most sensitive area in the UK to rising sea levels.

A £200,000 lottery fund was introduced in the town to develop 12 projects to help the community embrace impacts of climate change.

It is hoped that people will feel more involved in coming up with ideas around things like reducing plastic waste and flood prevention strategies.

Robert Uhlig Chair of Bude Climate Partnership, said: "It's for the community to be involved in and have ownership of decision-making.

"So that we think okay, are we going to build a massive dune system that will then act as a barrier or do we do a wall or try something else?"