Beachy Head (530ft high) in East Sussex is the highest chalk sea cliff in the UK. From its broad summit there are stunning views over Eastbourne (a popular resort on the South Coast) and the immediate area; and in good weather it is possible to see as far as Dungeness in the east, and to Selsey Bill in the west. And of course the views out to sea into the English Channel are also impressive on a good day (click here to see my previous post).
Beachy head is also the gateway to the new South Downs National Park and the start of the South Downs long distance footpath.
The prominence of Beachy Head has made it a landmark for sailors in the English Channel but in the past it was also a danger to shipping. The Beachy Head lighthouse was built in the sea at the base of the headland and became operational in 1902 and retains its distinctive red and white stripes to this day. The headland was also a valuable waypoint for the Royal Air Force in WW2 en route to France and a forward relay station was established on the headland to improve radio communications with aircraft.
Famous and notable for many reasons, Beachy Head is also sadly infamous as being one of the most notorious suicide spots in the world. There are an estimated 20 suicides each year at Beachy Head. A Chaplaincy Team conducts regular patrols of the area in attempts to locate and stop potential jumpers.