MASSIVE pumps have been installed on Loe Bar beach near Porthleven to pump thousands of gallons of water from the fresh water lake to prevent flooding of homes in Helston.

The move by the Environment Agency has averted, what they say, was a very real danger of flooding of up to 120 properties in the town.

The 24 hour operation was instigated after a recent cliff collapse which closed the footpath from Loe Bar to Porthleven and damaged a pipe which usually discharges the water into the sea.

David Harker from the Environment Agency told the BBC: "The three pumps each weigh about six tonnes. We've got it under control now we have the pumps in place, but beforehand there was a real risk of flooding."

Recent heavy rains and storms have seen water levels rise drastically, threatening homes at the top of the lake.

The National Trust says the whole area between Loe Bar and Porthleven is still unstable and dangerous.

Lead Ranger at Penrose Mike Hardy said: "The coast route has been officially closed, and there is a long diversion in place. The winter weather isn’t helping this, and the Higher Penrose route is very muddy in places – it’s a wellies, stout boots and waterproofs job, so if you use it please go prepared. The new surfaced route from Highburrow provides a good winter stroll as an alternative.

"We know the coast is dynamic and always changing, and although parts of the old road were lost to erosion decades ago, it still feels like a shock to suddenly lose the enjoyment this route provided for everyone. We’ve put a lot of work into keeping it open and accessible over the years, so it feels like a shock to us too.

"The challenge now though is to find a new coast path route – a long term solution that will last a generation or more, so in 2050 people can still be enjoying this part of Penrose, still looking back with good memories and still able to tell those stories of change.

"There’s plenty for us to think about and balance in all this; we can’t build another road, and we need to protect the beauty, wildlife (and wildness) of the place. There’s our tenant farmer to consider and work with, lots of archaeology and the challenging terrain generally. But there are opportunities too, not least new views for people to enjoy.

"But the behind the scenes stuff has to be done and takes time; working up plans; specifications; consents, finding contractors and working with partners like the SW Coast Path Association... And the financial challenge – we’re a conservation charity and we will need to find the funds required. At the moment we don’t have a timescale as we are right at the start, but it’s a priority for us, and we’ll let you know when we have one and give regular updates.

"We know how much people value and care about Penrose, and really value your support. If you have any ideas or suggestions (practical or fundraising) or just want to tell us why this part of it is important to you, please get in contact direct via email."