Slideshow: Rock-pooling fun at popular beach spot

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Children from Polegate Children’s Centre grabbed their buckets and spades for an afternoon’s rock pooling at Birling Gap.

The event was part of the official opening of the new 49 step stairway between the cliffs and beach.

Birling Gap Opening of new cliffside steps

Birling Gap Opening of new cliffside steps

Vice chairman of Wealden District Council, Cllr Barby Dashwood-Morris, also attended the offical opening on Tuesday (September 3) where she cut the green ribbon to open the stairway.

Children then grabbed their nets and buckets and combed the beach for fossils and peered into rock pools searching for creatures.

Managers from local attractions were also invited to see the renovations and then to take tea in the newly refurbished National Trust café.

Access to the beach from Birling Gap was briefly closed in May to allow the installation of a new galvanised steel stairway by Uckfield based C J Thorne & Co.

The National Trust said this was needed because the area where the cliffs met the previous stairway had eroded by ten meters in less than 20 years.

The £60,000 cost of the new steps was met jointly by Wealden District Council and The National Trust.

Cllr Dashwood-Morris said: “I was delighted to officially re-open this tremendously popular tourist attraction and hope that everyone enjoyed the fun afternoon that was arranged.

“The cliffs are visited by over 350,000 people each year, so it is important to both the local community and visitors to have the staircase restored.”

National Trust Operations Manager, Zara Luxford, said: “We are over-the-moon with our new look cafe and shop, but this is just the start.

“Next year we will be opening a visitor centre which will explore the many stories of Birling Gap and include a community exhibition space and learning room.”

Jane Kilby, Tourism Officer at Wealden District Council added: “With the National Trust Cafe and Information Centre open for 353 days of the year, the breath taking views will make it a must-visit destination for everyone visiting - whether it’s a beach trip, a walk along the downs, or just somewhere to have a cup of tea, it’s a great place to spend the day by the seaside.“

Cuckmere Community bus helped by providing transport for the event.

n See the slide show at www.sussexexpress.co.uk