Current projects

Timber Groyne renewal programme, winter 2021/22

Year 2 of a two-year, £1.9 million programme to renew eight timber groynes from the boundary of Poole/Bournemouth to West Cliff zig-zag


BCP Council



4th October 2021


September 2021

Poole Bay Timber Groyne renewal 2021/22

From winter 2021, three old groynes will be replaced by four new more evenly spaced groynes

Project Overview

All 53 timber groynes along Bournemouth’s beaches are being renewed, in multiple short phases, as part of the Poole Bay Beach Management Scheme 2015-2032  

This fifth short phase is anticipated to take place from October 2021 – March 2022.  The works area will stretch from Middle Chine to West Cliff zig-zag path.  Three old groynes will be replaced by four new more evenly spaced groynes.

Last winter the first set of groynes in this two-year programme were renewed, from the boundary to Middle Chine. Five groynes were deconstructed, replaced by four more evenly spaced ones.

For details of the Environmental Innovation Hub indicated on the working area map above, please visit

Deconstructing and reconstructing a timber groyne – how it’s done

Please enlarge images in the gallery for a description of the process

The new groynes

Each new groyne will be constructed using a mix of new tropical hardwood timber and recycled tropical hardwood planking, from previously deconstructed timber groynes

Hardwoods used will be Greenheart – a pale yellow to dark olive green wood from Guyana, South America, and Ekki – a dark red / deep chocolate-brown wood from West Africa and the Congo. These timbers have been selected for their strength, durability and resistance to marine life which can destroy wood by boring into and eating it.


A total of 29 piles are sunk for a timber groyne, each pile is 10m long and spaced 2.5m apart. The King pile (out at sea) is 12.5m long. Piles are driven down to the first solid layer of stable substrate/clay. Each groyne is between 5m-7.5m deep and roughly 75m in width. Approximately 225 planks of timber make up a groyne. The top 5 rows are generally constructed using new timber; recycled timber is used for the bottom 12-14 rows.

Visitor access & safety

Access to beach huts and along the promenade will be retained to allow visitors to safely pass the works, but the beach construction area will be closed for safety reasons.

Heavy machinery will be operating on the beach. Sand becomes unstable when it is excavated around groynes; for this reason, we ask visitors not to pass the construction zone along the water’s edge, even at low tide. Dogs should be kept on a lead.

Once work is finished, restrictions will remain in place until the sand dries out and becomes more compact and stable underfoot. 

Environmental considerations

All the groyne renewal works will be carried out in accordance with the Marine Management Organisation licence and planning consent. Additionally, new tropical hardwood timber used for this project is certified sustainable by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC).

Existing groynes will be carefully deconstructed to ensure that all suitable materials can be recovered and recycled or re-used in future groyne renewal projects.

Groynes – their role in coast protection

Strategically placed timber groynes slow down the natural process of ‘sediment transport’ of beach material within Poole Bay (primarily from west to east). Piling and planking deep into the beach, to the first solid layer of substrate/clay, helps retain the sand within a groyne field. Timber groynes are renewed approximately once every 25 years.

In combination with periodic beach re-nourishment (topping up the beach levels) groynes help protect our promenade and seawalls from undermining, and the cliffs from erosion by wave action. The next beach re-nourishment project is planned for early 2021. 

Previous phases of timber groyne renewal:

  • Winter 2020/21 – Year 1 of a two-year renewal project, 4 groynes eastwards from Poole/Bournemouth boundary to Middle Chine
  • Winter 2017/18 and 2018/19 – 12 groynes at Southbourne
  • Winter 2016/17 – 8 groynes eastwards from Fisherman’s Walk to Gordon’s Corner
  • Winter 2015/16 – 10 groynes from the east of Boscombe Pier to Fisherman’s Walk