Every year, a huge 40 foot sinkhole grows and uncovers secret underground beaches


In 2003, the Souter Hole was discovered near Sunderland in north-east England. It is so large that an underground beach has been discovered beneath it

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Souter Hole – Sunderland’s amazing 40 foot sinkhole

A massive sinkhole appears at a coast beauty spot, revealing an underground sandy beach.

Souter Hole is a natural phenomenon that first appeared in 2003 as a small sinkhole. It has continued to grow each year since.

It has grown to such an extent that a hidden beach was revealed by the sea pushing its way through Whitburn’s cliff walls, near Sunderland.

The hole is 40ft wide and has been caused by erosion and landslips.

The National Trust, which maintains the cliff path around this hole, is warning dog owners as well as walkers not to enter the area.

Clair Eason was a former GP, beach artist and photographer who captured the extent of the sinkhole as she explored the coast close to her home.

“This deep sink hole near Souter Point, South Shields, began as a small hollow a few years ago,” she said.

“It’s growing into a huge beast, adding even more drama to the rugged coastline.”

The National Trust has been forced to cordon off the sinkhole which is close to the cliff coast path.

A spokesperson said: “We want all of our visitors to have an enjoyable, relaxed and safe visit to Whitburn Coastal Park.

“By its nature the coastline is constantly changing, with some areas particularly prone to erosion and landslips.

“This sinkhole was first discovered in 2003. It is still being surveyed regularly.

“We have put up fencing and warning signs around this sink hole, which is away from the main path running along the cliff tops of The Leas and Whitburn Coastal Park, known locally as The Wherry.”

The National Trust urged people to pay attention to the signs and stick to the main paths.

Warning signs are in place at key points along the cliff edges and at information panels in each car park.