BEACHY HEAD, EASTBOURNE, SUSSEX

 

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It is thought that as early as 1670 a light shone to guide passing vessels from the top of the cliffs at Beachy Head, some 90 Meters above sea level.

 

In 1828 James Walker erected Belle Toute Lighthouse, a 14 meter high circular tower, on the headland. This remained in operation till 1899 when it was abandoned due to being frequently shrouded in mist and threatened with collapse because of recurrent falls of chalk from the cliff.

 

 

 

Beachy head Lighthouse - Position 50 44' 0 N 00 14'.50 E

 

 

Then in 1902 under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer-in-Chief, the present lighthouse was brought into service, sited about 165 metres seawards from the base of the cliffs. It took two years to complete and involved building a coffer-dam and a cableway from the top of the cliffs to carry materials down to the site. 3,660 tons of Cornish granite were used in the construction of the tower.

 

Beachy Head Lighthouse is 43 metres high with a 1st order 920 MM optic which rotates in a bed of mercury. The station gives out a white group flash, of 880,000 candelas intensity, twice every 20 seconds. The light is visible for 25 sea miles. The fog signal is a nautophone sounding every 30 seconds. Beachy Head lighthouse was automated and de-manned in June, 1983. It is monitored 24 hours a day from the Trinity House Operations Control Center at Harwich in Essex.

 

ESTABLISHED in 1828                 

HEIGHT OF TOWER = 43 meters

HEIGHT OF LIGHT ABOVE MEAN HIGH WATER = 31 meters

AUTOMATED in 1983

ELECTRIFIED in 1960

LAMP = 10.4 watt filament lamp

CHARACTER - 2 white flashes every 20 seconds

INTENSITY = 11,739 candela

RANGE OF LIGHT = 25 sea miles

FOG SIGNAL CHARACTER - 6 second blast every 30 seconds

FOG SIGNAL RANGE = 2 sea miles

 

 

 

 

Beachy Head is the most famous part of the Eastbourne Downland. Beachy Head rises 162 metres (530 feet) above the sea below and is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain.

 

The main reason for Beachy Head's popularity is the wonderful panoramic view which can be seen from the cliff top. If you look east you see the beaches and town of Eastbourne, the Pier and the Harbour, and then on to Pevensey Bay and Hastings and, on an exceptionally clear day, Dungeness in Kent, nearly 40 miles away.

 

Looking west, you can see even further, up to 70 miles, past Seaford Head to Newhaven and Brighton and then on to Selsey Bill near Chichester in West Sussex. On a very clear day the outline of the Isle of Wight can be seen.

 

Beachy Head Countryside Centre - A visit to Beachy Head is not complete without experiencing the Beachy Head Countryside Centre. Admission is free and there are interactive displays about the wildlife and history of the area. The Centre is fully accessible for disabled people.You can listen to the talking shepherd about farming on the Downland or visit Bronze Age Man in his hut. The wildlife of the Downs can be seen and heard as well as interacted with on the touch screen computers.The BHCC has a resident Education Officer and a range of services are offered to schools. Teacher's notes are available and organised activities include nature trail walks, scavenger hunts, art afternoons and pond study. Packages can be tailor made to suit different group sizes, ages and abilities. The BHCC Gift Shop stocks a wide range of gifts and presents to suit all ages.

For more information on what the BHCC offers please call the Manager or the Education Officer on 01323 737273.  Opening Times: April 17 - September 26 2000: Monday to Sunday 10am - 5.30pm

Getting There - Beachy Head is easily reached by car. From Eastbourne take Duke's Drive from the seafront (be careful of the steeply winding road), Meads Road from Meads and East Dean Road from Old Town. From the west follow the signs on the A259. Parking is free in the lay-bys near Beachy Head and there is a large pay and display public car park. Please park in the Beachy Head Pub car park only if you intend to patronise the pub.

Eastbourne Buses
run a service along the seafront from the Sovereign Centre to Beachy Head.

 

Facilities - There are public toilets adjoining the car park at Beachy Head, including disabled toilets (access with radar key). Beachy Head Pub is open all day, 7 days a week and serves good quality food. Children and disabled welcome, indoor and outdoor play equipment, toilet and baby changing facilities. Tel: 01323 728060.

 

 

 

Boarding - Beachy head Lighthouse

 

 

On January 12, 1999, a huge part of the 200 m high chalk cliffs immediate behind the lighthouse fell into the sea. Thousands of tons of chalk rubble, loosened by a winter of wet weather and storms, collapsed to form a new spit of land reaching almost up to the base of the tower. It was reportedly the biggest collapse of the cliffs in living memory. Geologists reported that the cliffs are collapsing at an average rate of 1 m per year. The cliff fall came as a great shock to the inhabitants of the privately-owned Belle Toute lighthouse that stands just feet away from the edge of the cliffs just behind where this photo was taken. Their plans to move their home back from the edge of the cliffs were accelerated!

 

 

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