Changing sands at Praia do Barril

At the beginning of this year we were somewhat amazed by the works taking place at Praia do Barril. We couldn’t quite work out what they were doing, although we knew the aim was to protect the beach from the sands. In March we discovered that whatever they were doing had been swept away by the winter storms, and we were curious as to whether they would continue. And last week we discovered they had.

It seems they had been ‘raising’ the beach in the stretch immediately in front of the anchors and old tuna station. We presume that the pipes they had located in the san ds have also somehow ‘strengthened’ the sand, perhaps by lowering the water level, so it won’t be washed away. As whilst a 5ft raise seems enormous to me at 5ft2 it is nothing to the Atlantic. One of our friends thinks it might be a deliberate temporary barrier. A quick fix to protect the anchors this winter, with a longer term solution to follow next year.

I wonder if they’ve considered how the raising will impact elsewhere. We noticed that the beach to the east of the works was looking and behaving quite different to previous visits, which suggests perhaps not.

Rest of beach
Atlantic now easily reaches the sand dunes

There is evidence that defences are not necessarily the best way forward, instead communities and authorities should perhaps “think about rollback, adaptation and realignment, and allow the undeveloped parts of the coast to function more naturally”. And research in Portugal has also suggested that rollback is probably the answer here, these beaches after all are nothing more than moving sandbars. I wonder though what the gulls and sanderlings think?!

Birds on the Beach

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When in Portugal you will find me walking, cooking, photographing, reading and of course blogging. In England it is pretty much the same with the addition of catching up with family, friends and organising a festival.

22 thoughts on “Changing sands at Praia do Barril

  1. We have a similar situation on our local beach. It’s amazing how the sea and wind sculptures the sand.

    I can’t wait to visit the Eastern ALgarve and the Olhao~area. Once I’ve had my knee op… hopefully, I’ll be able to walk again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When do you go in for the op? I am sure it will transform your life, I have known four people who have had knee surgery and it has given them a new lease of walking life in every case 😀


    1. Thank you Alice, the Algarvian beaches are rather amazing. Interesting they are doing similar things on the other side of the Atlantic. I wonder if you have any Portuguese sand mixed up in your beach work?!


  2. The sea carves cliffs much higher than these after a storm here in Cornwall. As Brian said, the action of the sea is unpredictable and we mess around with it at our own peril. I cannot see a 5 foot bank holding back the Atlantic!

    Liked by 1 person


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