Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is conducting urgent investigative operations on a compromised main river culvert in Tenby. This work is critical to address a breach that is causing water from the Afon Ritec to emerge on South Beach. Without timely repairs, there’s a significant risk of ecological harm and danger to public safety.

The initial phase of the exploratory work is scheduled to begin this week, aiming to assess the full scope of the problem.

The issue came to NRW’s attention on Monday, 26 February, following a report from a concerned individual about water traversing the beach area.

Jared Gethin, Project Executive, for NRW, said:

“People can expect to see heavy machinery on South Beach in Tenby over the next few days as our team of contractors carry out exploratory works to identify the root cause of the surfacing flows, flagged by the public.

“The NRW-managed culvert conveying the Afon Ritec is thought to have ruptured at a point before its usual sea outfall. During high river levels, surfacing water on South Beach is evident and currently scouring a channel along the beach.

“Without emergency intervention the rupture presents risks to the ecology of the area, which is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, to the health and safety of beach-goers and potentially lead to an increased risk of flooding.

“Once we uncover the extent of the culvert breach, we will then be able to work out the best solution and proceed with repair work immediately.”

There will be some diversions and closures in place in South Beach car park and on the beach itself. NRW urges people to adhere to those for everyone’s safety.

The works are scheduled to take between two days to one week, dependent on the outcome of Thursday’s exploratory stage.

Afon Ritec was culverted in the latter half of the 19th Century when a railway extension, connecting Tenby to the Great Western mainline at Whitland, was completed.

Image: NRW