Eastbourne & Beachy Head hike

Posted on June 25, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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Birling Gap at Beachy Head


The hiking season has resumed! Although hiking can be an all year round activity, it is most enjoyable during the summer because the sun sets later (which means we can do longer hikes) and the temperature is warmer. My first UK hike this year was a circular hike from Eastbourne, where we hiked along the coastline and enjoyed some spectacular views of the area with plenty of sunshine. We passed by Beachy Head, a chalk headland with the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres (531 ft) above sea level. Not surprisingly, it is also one of the most notorious suicide spots in the country!

An article in the Telegraph recently reported that the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team, a trained voluntary team that patrols the area 24/7 to save lives is under threat due to lack of funding. A significant amount is needed for the service to continue and donations can be made via their website above.


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Top right: East Dean Village; Bottom left & right: Sherlock Holmes' retirement home (?) in East Dean


Before we reached Beachy Head, we walked past the village East Dean and had our picnic lunches on the village green. After lunch, I noticed a blue plaque on the front of a house, and to my surprise, the house did not belong to a painter/musician/poet but the fictional character Sherlock Holmes! Apparently Holmes experts have maintained that Holmes ended his days in East Dean after Sherlock author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle hinted it in the preface of one of his books. Now thanks to the new TV series, the character is more popular than ever and a special walk is created for Holmes' fans!


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Bottom left: The beachy head lighthouse; Bottom middle: Birling Gap; Bottom right: Belle Tout lighthouse


One of the landmarks in the area is the Grade II listed Belle Tout lighthouse, which was featured in many films and TV productions. The lighthouse was in operation from 1832 to 1902 until a new lighthouse was built in the sea below to replace it. The lighthouse suffered damage during the second world war but was rebuilt in the 1950s. In 1999, the lighthouse was moved (in one piece) more than 17m (50ft) inland from a crumbling cliff edge due to coastal erosion. Now the lighthouse has been converted into a 6-room luxury bed and breakfast and has proved to be very popular!


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After hiking up and down the cliff for miles along the coastline, we arrived at a memorial site, The Bomber Command Tribute that commemorate the RAF who lost their lives during the Second World War as Beachy Head was their final departure spot in the UK.


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Eastbourne and the Eastbourne carnival


Finally, we arrived into the coastal town of Eastbourne and coincidentally stumbled upon the Eastbourne Sunshine Carnival taking place on the seafront. The seafront was packed and it was nice to see much excitement and joyful spirit everywhere. We had our early dinner in a pub where most locals were dressed up as pirates, so we really stood out in our hiking gear!

This hike was one of the most memorable and enjoyable in recent years, and as always I also met some lovely people. Although we were all exhausted after the long day, we all felt refreshed and content afterwards... now I just can't wait until my next walk/hike!

This post was posted in Nature, Hiking & walking, Britain and was tagged with hiking, walks, nature, walking, beach