FOSSIL collectors are being warned to steer clear of a section of West Somerset coastline where recent high tides and storms have caused huge rockfalls.

The latest landslides have exposed a large number of fossils on the two mile stretch of coastline between Blue Anchor and Watchet, but rescue organisations say the cliffs are unstable and fresh landslides could happen at any time.

Lifeboat officials in Minehead say people should avoid walking the stretch between Blue Anchor and Watchet

rather than take risks which could end up in costly and difficult rescue operations.

The two miles of cliffs between Blue Anchor and Watchet have been eroding more rapidly in recent years. And walkers trapped by rock falls and the rising tide have sparked a number of calls for the RNLI’s services.

The latest landslides came as high tides battered the coast after weeks of heavy rain following Storm Imogen. This has exposed large numbers of fossils but the RNLI at Minehead has warned collectors not to put themselves at risk.

Station spokesman Chris Rundle said the Minehead crew regularly had to respond to calls from people stuck on or under cliffs along the whole length of coast between Blue Anchor and Hinkley Point.

“But it’s undoubtedly the section between Blue Anchor and Watchet which poses the biggest danger,” he said.

“It’s not the place to get caught out. There are very few points where it’s possible to climb the cliffs to escape the incoming tide and a lot of people who have tried have ended up in very inaccessible situations where we haven’t been able to reach them from the sea, coastguards haven’t been able to get to them from the land and a helicopter rescue has been the only option.

“Our information is that there are new waterfalls appearing out of the cliffs because of the amount of rain we have had and that makes further major falls almost inevitable.

“It really is an area to avoid, rather than explore, at the moment.”