Beach access closed as beauty spot revamped

Birling Gap steps
Birling Gap steps

A beauty spot is to receive a five figure make over after coastal erosion took its toll on Birling Gap cliffs.

The £60,000 investment to replace the steps at the popular tourist area is being made to ensure access to beach is maintained in the future.

But the improvement work means the public will not be able to access the beach at Birling Gap during an 18 day period.

The cash is being made available by Wealden District Council and The National Trust in response to continuing cliff erosion.

Work on the new access staircase was due to start this week and is expected to continue until May 24.

The steps will be made from galvanised steel fitted with sustainable hardwood treads.

The cliffs at Birling Gap are visited by over 350,000 people each year. They erode at up to one metre a year, according to the National Trust website.

Nigel Hannam, director of Corporate Services at Wealden District Council (WDC), said: “We regret having to close access to Birling Gap during this period but we want to make sure Birling Gap is fully accessible again for the Spring Bank Holiday, May 27, and the rest of summer.”

Since the last replacement staircase was installed in 1996, the cliffs where the staircase and walkway are attached have eroded by 10 metres, said a WDC spokesman.

He added that with such tremendous forces of nature at work, it is important the most violent storms of the winter months are avoided when carrying out the work.

Walkers will not be able to access the beach at Birling Gap while the work is being carried out and should not attempt to walk the shoreline from Eastbourne to Cuckmere Haven because of the risk of being cut off by incoming tides.

The work is being carried out by Uckfield-based civil engineers C J Thorne & Co.

Visit Birling Gap and you’ll be able to see the progress of the exciting refurbishment works, starting this week, for a new café, shop and visitor centre. The work will continue throughout the spring and summer.

The latest work at Birling Gap follows a series of improvements to existing facilities.

The works have included expanding the café to include an improved seating area, servery and a new ice-cream parlour

Birling Gap is part of the world famous Seven Sisters chalk cliffs.