A few days ago as it was a nice sunny day we went out for a drive and decided to visit Beachy Head in East Sussex.
The sea was calm, clear and crystal blue; a delight to see as our English sea is often rough, grey and muddy looking.
There were hundreds of cars parked in laybys and on the grass verges in every direction.
We found a parking space and then discovered that we had to pay. But the meter didn’t work although there was no sign on it.
The whole area was absolutely heaving with people. Some of them were ridiculously near to the edge of the cliff, taking selfies. Don’t they realise that large chunks of the cliff could give way at any time?
Beachy Head is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain. It’s 531 ft, 162 metres above sea level.
Behind us was the Beachy Head Lighthouse which sits in the sea. It was built in 1902 to replace the Belle Tout Lighthouse which is perched on the top of the cliff. It was built in 1834 but it was often shrouded in sea mists.
The Belle Tout Lighthouse is now a holiday home. It was moved back from the cliff edge or it wouldn’t still be there. https://b-c-ing-u.com/featured-articles/the-lighthouse-scandal/
Once again the lighthouse is in imminent danger of falling over the cliff. After the last expensive move it was left on rails so that it can be moved again a lot easier if necessary. But I don’t see how they can move it again as it’s on the top of a hill. They would have to build a base for it.
Opposite the Belle Tout, and perched perilously on the cliff’s edge, is a takeaway cafe; a great relief after the walk uphill. There are no loos though. And sadly it does add to the litter problem.
The views from Beachy Head on a clear day are wonderful. In fact, the name Beachy Head has nothing to do with the beach. It’s a corruption of the French words Beu Chef, which means beautiful headland. But by the early 1700s it was known as Beachy Head.
You can see Dungeness in the East and the Isle of Wight to the West.
Dungeness is known as England’s Only Desert. https://b-c-ing-u.com/architecture/what-is-dungeness/
Eastbourne County Council owns the land.
On the dark side, Beachy Head is Britain’s most used suicide spot, and the 3rd most common suicide spot in the world, after the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the mysterious Aokigara Woods in Japan.
As many as 20 people a year commit suicide there. The Beachy Head Chaplain volunteers patrol the site night and day, trying to spot potential suicides and talk them out of it.
And I know that everyone has a right to go there and admire the views, but the constant tramping of thousands of feet which must vibrate down into the ground is surely causing even more damage.
I saw a new crack in the cliff and anyone standing above it is risking their life.
Although it’s bound to be an unpopular decision, the cliff top really needs to be fenced off away from the edge.
And it would be so great if everyone would take their litter and put it in the bins!