Birling Gap to Beachy Head

My husband was on leave from work the other week, so I took the opportunity to get him out for a bit. With an old house on two and a half acres of land, there is always something that needs doing around the place and if I didn’t drag him away, he would spend the entire holiday doing chores.

I had fancied this circular walk ever since I saved a few in OneNote at the beginning of the year. At four miles though, it was a fair distance for me and the most recent I had tackled with a friend was only three miles. (I came back with blisters from that one and I had yet to try my boots after they had been stretched). The weather was simply too good though, so on the very first day of autumn, we finished the animals early and set out to find the car park at Birling Gap.

I guess it was no surprise that even in the middle of the week, the place was full and yet with walkers stretched out along a great distance, it didn’t seem to be too crowded. The first part of the walk rose up from the parking and information centre, over the brow of the hill to the Belle Tout lighthouse. Now I remember this location from the 1986 TV series – The Life and Loves of a She-Devil and afterwards I followed the remarkable feat of engineering to move it back from the cliff edge in 1999. The 850 ton building was moved a total of 17 metres using a system of hydraulic jacks.

My first impression on seeing the lighthouse “in the flesh” for the first time was one of disappointment. It was surrounded by a rather ugly wall leaving me with no chance of taking any photographs. The view from the location was breathtaking though and the featured image above was taken just yards from their gate and looking ahead to its replacement at the bottom of the cliffs. (The Belle Tout was decommissioned in 1902 due to the light being obscured from that height by sea mists).

We pushed on, but we hadn’t expected the walk to be quite so hilly. At one point the route appeared to vanish completely, the drop was so extreme, but we eventually made it to the highest point at Beachy Head, where we had a view of the lighthouse from the opposite direction.

The afternoon was warming up, so we dawdled back with the occasional break. It was while we were sitting on the grass that I spotted these people further along and very close to the edge. They must have been blissfully unaware of the view that I had, but thankfully they left shortly after this image was taken.

Picnic on the Edge

Turning away from the sea, this was the view we had of clouds whizzing past behind. We returned to the car park a while later. I had developed a few blisters again, but I think it was well worth it for a wonderful day out along some of our stunning English coast.


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