‘Lives at risk’ warning after barriers damaged at Co Antrim walking route

Cracks along a stretch of Blackhead Path.
Cracks along a stretch of Blackhead Path.

A renewed safety warning has been issued after members of the public knocked down fences and removed locks barring their way on the subsidence-hit Blackhead Path.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is again urging walkers not to ignore the signs at the Whitehead coastal attraction, where the section between Whitehead car park to the Old Castle Road is shut due to serious concerns.

A council spokesperson said: “We are urging locals and visitors to take the advice on the signs and fences that have been put up, as by not doing so, they are putting their lives at risk.

“Damage to these fences is also costing money, which could be put into reopening the path as quickly as possible.

“We understand this is a hugely popular with the local community, dog walkers and tourists, but the safety of users of the path is of utmost importance.

“We understand how frustrating this can be as there have been signs erected before, but we are acting on recent advice from experts, who have shown significant movement along the path. There could be land slippage or rock fall at any moment, which could result in loss of life if someone were to be on the path at the time.”

The path, which was closed by the local authority earlier this month until further notice, has moved 30cms in the last year and, more significantly, 17cms in the last month. The additional damage may have been caused by extreme weather experienced this summer.

Large cracks along the path wall have also been identified, indicating likely structural failure of the concrete wall and possible collapse. The path was previously closed to vehicles and the latest move is to safeguard pedestrians.

A public meeting, organised by Blackhead Preservation Society, over plans for the path will take place on Thursday, August 23, at Whitehead Methodist Church Hall (7.30pm sharp).