Continuing to walk in a southerly direction from Catalan Bay along Sir Herbert Miles Road, or taking the bus to “Both Worlds” housing complex, you will arrive at the magnificent, newly constructed, Sandy Bay Beach. This amazingly picturesque man made beach is the southernmost of the three beaches which line the eastern side of the Rock, hugged by the Mediterranean coast of Gibraltar. To be honest, calling Sandy Bay even picturesque is a serious understatement.
During the 1970’s Sandy Bay was a beautiful established beach varying in width between 10 and 20 metres. Unfortunately though, due to its geometry and climatic changes, each year saw gradual erosion and further loss of sand from the beach. By the years 2010/11, Sandy Bay Beach had virtually disappeared, and at one point was actually closed to the public and considered very dangerous.
In 2013 HM Government of Gibraltar sought advice from Lievense, a Dutch coastal Engineering consultant, to analyze the coastal processes affecting the beach and to identify a long-term restoration solution. The Contract was awarded to Van Oord (Gibraltar) Ltd who commenced work on March 10th 2013. All rock that was required for the project was imported from Nador, a city located in the north-eastern Rif region of Morocco, and a further 80,000 tons of sand was imported from Layounne in the Western Sahara to replenish the beach.
To protect the new Sandy Bay Beach from further erosion, two enormous curved groynes were constructed, connected at both ends by a submerged breakwater.
If you take a look at some of the aerial photos of the bay below, you will clearly see this submerged breakwater and the cleverly constructed groynes at work. June 25th 2014 saw the inauguration of the new Sandy Bay Beach. A brilliant achievement, and a fantastic addition to Gibraltar’s amazing attractions.
When looking up from the beach at the gigantic Rock directly behind you, you will see remnants of the enormous water catchment area that has now been dissembled and is no longer in use. The flat slope you see that dominates the eastern cliffs of the Rock is actually the Great Gibraltar Sand Dune.
Historically, a fresh water source for the population had been a continuous problem for Gibraltar. This ancient prehistoric dune made up of solidified sand had a naturally smooth surface. It became the perfect location for a water catchment area.
The early 1900s saw ongoing construction and additions to this water catchment area, made up of a corrugated sheets of steel and a layer of concrete. Rainwater would flow down these sheets and then into open channels which fed into a reservoir system inside the Rock.
In later years, as there was no further need for the water catchment area, the sheets were dismantled and removed, allowing for the slope to return to its natural state.
Today, when looking up at the Great Gibraltar Sand Dune from Sandy Bay Beach, you can witness this incredibly enormous dune, now once again completely covered in natural vegetation native to Gibraltar. It really is an amazing sight.
As you can see, Sandy Bay has a lot to offer. The spacious soft sand beach has ample space to accommodate all types of fun seeking beach goers. There is also a fantastic beach restaurant, Kokonut, located right in the middle of Sandy Bay, where you can enjoy some great quality food and drinks, while enjoying your day at the beach. Don’t forget to visit Sandy Bay Beach on your next visit to Gibraltar!
If there is any information that you feel is outdated, incorrect, or maybe lacking further insight that you could offer other readers on the above topic, please feel free to send us your comments or suggestions using the following link. We appreciate your time involved and will take your feedback very seriously. Thank you!