Shifting shores at Middle Beach

Failing sea defences at Middle Beach in Studland

Old maps and photographs show that beach and slope erosion have been occurring at Middle Beach for well over 100 years.

The defences have added to the problem by starving the beach of new material so that levels have dropped in recent years.

These defences are now reaching the end of their lives. Instead of rebuilding them, we want to find a new location for the café and toilet facilities at Middle Beach that is out of harm’s way.

This is part of our national policy to work wherever possible with natural processes which constantly reshape the coastline.

Removing the defences will allow the shoreline to adjust to a healthier and more natural state. It is vital that we make sustainable choices now to ensure the wellbeing of our coastline in the future.


The Middle Beach Café has been at the heart of Studland for generations. The community and our visitors told us that they did not want to lose the café and they did not want the defences removed.

In Autumn 2016 the National Trust, Studland Parish Council and the Middle Beach Action Group came together to address these concerns and formed the Middle Beach Working Group.

After many months of meetings and consultations with a wide range of experts, the group feel that they have found a solution.


The group want to provide a new café and toilets in a safer location at Middle Beach. During this transition period the current facilities and defences will be maintained.

After examining a number of options, in May 2017 the group identified the area adjacent to the Coombe Stream as the location which best meets the aspirations of all parties.

Now we are looking for one or more representatives from the beach hut community to join the project team.

The team meets once a month at our Purbeck office and currently consists of representatives from Studland Parish Council, the Middle Beach Action Group and the National Trust. If you are interested or want to find out more about the role, please contact us on the link below.

Drop in

We will also be running a number of drop-in sessions in Studland. Please come along to discuss the project and find out more about coastal change in Purbeck. These sessions will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Wednesday 25th October, 10 am – 4 pm, Grooms Cottage at Middle Beach
  • Thursday 26th October, 10 am –  4 pm,  Grooms Cottage at Middle Beach
  • Friday 10th November, 10 am – 4 pm, Studland Village Hall 
  • Saturday 11th November, 10 am – 1 pm, Studland Village Hall 

Once the new facilities are open, the failing defences will be removed allowing the shoreline to adjust to a natural state.

The group have worked hard to design a proposal that will ensure a sustainable future for both the natural environment at Middle Beach and its facilities.

Now we want to engage with our visitors, National Trust members and the wider beach community to discuss how this adaptation strategy can work for everyone.

More information:

Shifting Shores at Middle Beach leaflet (PDF / 2.7MB) download

Middle Beach Coastal Process and Contamination Assessment (PDF / 1MB) download

Appendices to Studland Middle Beach assessment (PDF / 4.8MB) download