I was down on Dawlish Warren yesterday and saw the new defences taking shape. They are rather dramatic! Dawlish Warren is a National Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation!
The major worry is that if the Warren sand dunes and spit are lost to a storm the rest of the estuary e.g the village of Dawlish Warren and Exmouth along with the mainline railway will be at much higher risk of erosion, flooding and damage.
This is a major consequence of climate change, rising sea levels and increased storminess. Even today the Environment Agency have published a report stating that Severe Flood Warnings in Devon and Cornwall doubled in the last few years – 32 last year compared to 13 in 2012 (see here). Worrying times ahead I would suggest – time to tackle the causes of climate change?