The first time I visited Birling Gap, it rained cats and dogs.
But I still managed to get some decent photos with my camera phone, whilst my umbrella battled with the 100mph winds!
See the photos with the houses? Look closely and you’ll see the remnants of another house which had to be demolished due to erosion of the Birling Gap cliffs. Sadly, the future doesn’t look bright as Birling Gap is now one of the most threatened areas in England and Wales for coastal erosion say the National Trust.
You can learn about this and more at the fantastic little Birling Gap visitors centre where you can see the erosion visually before and after over the years which is startling. The visitors centre also has a gift shop and cafe. You can access the beach via steps. I wonder if these large white stones were once part of the cliff.
The reason I found myself here was by accident. I was actually looking for the Beachy Head lighthouse after a visit to Eastbourne pier and pavilion (where it rained heavily also).
didn’t want to spend anymore time in the rain couldn’t find it and that’s when I drove past the Birling Gap visitors centre and decided not to let a trip be wasted. Glad I did.
As I didn’t travel back to Glasgow for Christmas, I decided to spend Christmas day (that’s how long this post has been sitting in my drafts) trying to find the Beachy Head lighthouse. Luckily, it wasn’t raining, quite the opposite actually. It was bright and sunny, I couldn’t have asked for more perfect photographing conditions. But my goodness it was still cold! The 100mph winds (maybe exaggerating a tad) were still present. Well, it is along the coast on a high cliff…
It was actually quite busy on Christmas Day. I thought I would have the gorgeous views of Beachy Head all to myself. I think the pub and restaurant at Beachy Head Hotle does Christmas lunches so people must have been working up an appetite by walking along the cliff. Rolling green hills, the sun shinning on the sea and fresh coastal air – what’s not to love!
For such a beautiful location, Beachy Head has a history for suicides. There were a number of flowers and crosses placed along the cliff. If Beachy Head looks familiar, you may have seen it in Quadrophenia when Jimmy let’s his moped ride off the cliff.
I found the lighthouse, hooray! But couldn’t find a way to get down there! You can visit the lighthouse via a guided tour by boat. There’s also another lighthouse nearby which has been converted into a B&B called Belle Tout.
After walking along Beachy Head, I decided to head back to Birling Gap, this time with the sun shinning down on me.
Inspired by photographer Tony Hertz’s Wave Exploration I got down low to shoot the tide crashing into the rocks.
I really recommend making the journey, just remember to wrap up warm!
How to get here
The car park at Beachy Head can be found near the Countryside centre, hotel and pub (for Sat Nav try the postcode BN20 7YA) and the Birling Gap visitor centre has it’s own free car park (BN20 0AB). There is also Seven Sisters Country Park nearby. The roads are narrow and winding so drive slowly.
Have you been to Eastbourne, Birling Gap or Beachy Head? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below!