High tides combined with south-westerly gales provide the perfect conditions for producing one of mother nature's most powerful, spine-tingling displays - huge waves breaking against Lyme Regis’s oldest sea defence - the Cobb.
Rough seas usually occur during stormy conditions in Autumn and Winter, in stark contrast to the normally calm and placid conditions of Summer.
Lyme Regis has no natural protection from south-westerly winds blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean which means storm driven waves crash dramatically against the Cobb. When large waves are expected, Monmouth beach is often awash with photographers trying to capture the next great shot of a wave crashing into the breakwater.
In recent times we've had storm Freya, Callum and Ophelia but the winter of 2014 will be remembered for the mighty storms which pummelled the Lyme Bay coast, leaving a trail of damage and destruction in their path.
The Cobb harbour was relentlessly battered by a constant wave of storms during January and February, culminating with a ferocious gale on Valentine’s Day with winds reaching in excess of 70mph at times.
The Cobb wall has stood up to the many batterings by the sea over the years but suffered severe damage in the unprecedented onslaught. The powerful waves ripped out concrete and tarmac from the Cobb surface and broke a block on the high wall.
The storm also left bent railings, broken benches and depleted sand levels around the harbour, while tonnes of pebbles were washed from Monmouth Beach across the Cobb into the harbour.
The navigation light at the end of the Cobb was destroyed, while a cannon from the North Wall was ripped out and later found in the harbour.
Safety kit including life rings were washed away and the pontoon usually found in the harbour was broken up and strewn across the beach. The electricity mains cable to the Cobb buildings was also damaged, meaning the aquarium was left without mains power.