Chunks of Royal North Devon being reclaimed by sea

Chunks of Royal North Devon Golf Club being reclaimed by sea

Frustrated 'potwallopers' watch as sea steals oldest golf course

Northam Burrows England's oldest golf course is disappearing into the sea by up to 90ft a year after members were banned from protecting it by “potwalloping” - for the first time in more than a century.

Officials at the 18-hole Royal Devon Golf Club, at Northam Burrows, near Westward Ho!, say large chunks of the links course are being reclaimed by the sea.

The course was established in 1864 and takes a regular battering from the Bristol Channel. Every year Torridge District Council has protected its seaward ridges by using machinery to pile up pebbles to limit the damage of the sea. But Natural England has told it that it is no longer allowed to interfere with nature because the course lies on a site of special scientific interest.

Members have also been banned from resurrecting the custom of “potwalloping”, where local people would pile the stones by hand.

David Lloyd, 60, a club member and former chairman, said that unless the ridge was protected, the course would lose the 7th and 8th holes as early as next year.

“I remember potwalloping as a child to protect the golfing green,” he said. “Twice a year, thousands of people would get together and potwallop on the beach.”

From The Times