Royal Marines needed more than buckets and spades to shift hundreds of tonnes of sand spilling onto the road at Instow.
A team from the neighbouring Amphibious Trials and Training Unit used large earth movers to move around 250 tonnes back up the beach yesterday (Monday).
Winter storms had blown the sand into drifts above the height of the sea wall, blocking the pavement and half the road, as well as the bus shelter.
Devon county and Instow parish councils had cleared the footpath but it is hoped that moving the sand further up the beach will ‘help keep Mother Nature at bay for a bit longer’.
Major Martyn Heenan, 11 Squadron Commanding Officer, said: “We use this beach for our training so it is fitting that we can do something to help the local community.”
A spokesman for the county council said: “We’ve been liaising with the beach’s landowners about possible options for beach management, to minimise sand encroaching onto the highway.
“Over the years a number of options have been trialled with limited success.”