Gibraltar Sandy Bay

Rock Of Gibraltar aerial view

The beach at Sandy Bay is situated alongside the massive ancient sand dune which lies against the cliffs of Gibraltar’s eastern side. The dune was utilised for the construction of the water catchments described below, and which are discussed further in this section.

In the panorama opposite you can see Sandy Bay nestling almost directly beneath the Water Catchments which are now disused. The slope is an ancient sand dune hugging the side of the rock, its naturally smooth surface allowed for the construction of a water catchment area made up of corrugated steel sheet covered with concrete. This created a hugh area which allowed rainwater to run into an open channel from where it would be fed into the reservoir system.

In 1898 began on four five million gallon water reservoirs on the western side of the Rock. These were excavated from solid rock. They were opened by the Governor in 1901. These reservoirs were fed from relatively small water catchment areas on the west side.

The water catchment area above Sandy Bay was designed to cater for ever increasing demand. The original plan was for 10 acres and work started in 1903 and between 1911 and 1914 a fit reservoir was excavated inside the Rock and the catchment area increased to 24 acres. By 1961 the total catchment area was 34 acres.

During 2001 work started on dismantling the catchment surface and in 2004 this area is returning to nature. The slope is almost entirely covered in grass and other vegetation.

If you rotate the panorama you will see the entrance to Admiralty Tunnel, it is slightly obscured by a grey concrete wall in the mid ground of the panorama. This tunnel is cut in a straight line through the Rock to the Navel Dockyard on the west side.

The coast road terminates at this point. Until 2000 it was possible to continue onward by car or foot through the massive Dudley Ward Tunnel which emerges close to the southern tip of the Rock. Rock falls at the eastern entrance of the tunnel have led to the road being closed.

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