Beachy Head

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Beachy Head Lighthouse from Beachy Head

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.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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16 Responses to Beachy Head

  1. Val Goldfinch says:

    stunning!

  2. Nicely composed, Andy. Square format seems especially appropriate.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Linda. I decided to opt for a square format because the sun was a slightly over-exposed ‘splat’ and not a neat star-burst. I had deliberately set the EV to -1, and that usually works. Should have checked the histogram… But having said all that, I do actually rather like the square format.

  3. Lisa Gordon says:

    What a magnificent photograph this is!

  4. Pete Buckley says:

    Great photo – captured the light well on the sea there… I’m guilty of never having been to Beachy Head – will have to remedy that!

  5. Meanderer says:

    Superb image of this iconic lighthouse. It began my love of lighthouses after seeing it is a child whilst on holiday in Eastbourne – or, more likely – Pevensey Bay.

    • LensScaper says:

      You and me both seem to have holidayed in Eastbourne. My parents liked the resort and I particularly recalled the Band Stand – a bit Art Deco in design. It’s still there but it is looking a little sad and in need of some repair work.

  6. shoreacres says:

    I see the same short-sightedness we’re experiencing here has overtaken those responsible for maintaining your aids to navigation. I read about the decisions not only to shorten the light’s range, and discontinue the horn, but also to allow the red and white daystripes to fade to gray. After all, as the wiki said, we have GPS and all.

    In the same way, paper charts are disappearing because of electronic charts. Morse code no longer is required of Coast Guard members, and so on and so forth. One of these days, we’re going to learn the lesson that our electronic net is very, very fragile. Those who still can use a compass, a pair of dividers, and a sextant are going to be in high demand.

    Apart from all that, the view is splendid. I especially like the cross-hatched waves, where they’re radiating back from the cliffs from two directions. And it really is a bit amusing, the way the sight of a lighthouse makes me feel snug and secure, and “OhMyGoshHowCloseAreWe?” all at once.

    • LensScaper says:

      The good news is that volunteers raised enough money to repaint the red stripe and the canopy of the lighthouse when the powers that be refused to cough up for that expense. Certainly it is short-sighted to rely on devices and not know the true basics of navigation whether on sea or on the land. And talking of basics, no-one will be able to recite their Times Tables in their head in a few years time – mental arithmetic will be dead. Enough of that…!
      I will re-visit this spot quite a few times, it takes me back to childhood and it is a great place to be on a warm summer’s day – just soaking up the view. Trouble is there will be rather a lot of other people with the same idea.

  7. Len says:

    Nice composition Andy. Any photo with a lighthouse is a great one in my book.

  8. Chillbrook says:

    Beautiful picture Andy! A location to conjure with for sure!

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