Work to clear shingle and debris from the A379 at Slapton is underway.

The road between Torcross and Strete Gate suffered significant damage during last week’s storm.

The southern section of the road from the Slapton junction (Sands Road) to Torcross has been covered by a significant amount of shingle and is currently impassable. It is expected it will take around a week to clear this part of the A379, although the carriageway is thought to be intact on this stretch.

A 450 metre section of the road between Sands Road and Strete Gate has been undermined and is likely to be closed for some time while Devon County Council engineers evaluate the extent of the damage.

A beach management plan drop-in session, scheduled to take place at Stokenham on Wednesday, March 7, to look at the longer term future of the Slapton Line has been postponed until initial damage assessments have been carried out.

Because the damage to the Slapton Line, nearby carparks and toilets blocks is extensive and requires further investigation, the public consultation on the proposed Beach management plan, which looks in detail at the technical options which could help protect the Slapton Line over the next 20 years, has been postponed.

All agencies involved in the Slapton Line Partnership, including South Hams District Council, Environment Agency, Natural England, South Devon AONB, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Field Studies Council at Slapton Ley, and Devon County Council, are working to establish the best way to reconnect local communities in the area.

South Hams District Council’s Memorial Car Park was damaged in the storm and remains closed, and barriers are being located at Slapton Junction, Strete Gate and Memorial car to maintain public safety. Diversions are in place.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highway Management, said: “The road has been severely damaged by Storm Emma – with some of it undermined and partly washed away. Public safety is our paramount concern and we would advise people to please follow the diversion and obey the road closure.

"We appreciate this is a vital route and we are working closely with our partners to decide on the best course of action from here - but we’d hope the Government will offer some support.”

Councillor Julian Brazil, local County Councillor for Kingsbridge and South Hams Councillor, called the damage "heart breaking" and said: "We want to reopen the road as quickly as possible but that will need funding from Central Government or their agencies. We need to see what permissions or agreements may be required.

"Last time there was damage at the Torcross end all the various parties worked together and we managed to sort thing out pretty quickly. I’m hoping it will be the same again."

Councillor Richard Foss, Ward Member for Allington and Strete at South Hams District Councillor, said: “South Hams District Council is working closely with all the partners and agencies involved in managing the Slapton Line, including the AONB, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Slapton Line Field Centre.

"I agree with Cllr Brazil, it is heart breaking, but we are all focused and engaged on achieving the best possible outcomes within the constraints that we have."