In search of the past - geophysics survey on Beachy Head

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 14-16th November, Wildwood Heritage and the National Trust conducted a geophysics survey of the headland at Beachy Head. The hidden remains of buildings and structures have been grassing over here for decades, even centuries, and they are finding out what’s visible beneath the surface.
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The geophysical survey involved the use of a resistivity meter which aims electrical pulses through the ground and recordsany resistance within the earth. Structures will show as high resistance patches on the survey data.

The current project is looking specifically into communications from the headland over the last 250 years. From semaphore flags to telegraphy and radar signalling, the history of this iconic headland has a lot to tell us about the development of technology and the evolution of trade, about scientific breakthroughs and the advent of war. From the Age of Sail to the Age of the Rocketship, the archaeological remains on Beachy Head represent a momentous leap forward in human innovation. The stories we are uncovering about the people who lived and worked here are as varied as any you’ve ever heard!

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The next phases of the project will include surveying some of the visible evidence and recording them through photography and hand drawing. We are looking for people to get involved with this process and explore these hidden stories first-hand.

National Trust and Wildwood Heritage staff and volunteers at Beachy HeadNational Trust and Wildwood Heritage staff and volunteers at Beachy Head
National Trust and Wildwood Heritage staff and volunteers at Beachy Head

If you would like to get involved with this survey or have good research skills you would like to share with us, please drop us a line on [email protected]

Keep up to date with our investigations at or @wildwood_heritage on Instagram, Wildwood Heritage CIC on Facebook.

The survey is supported by the National Trust and the Changing Chalk Community Grants Scheme, and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players.

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Other aspects of the project have been supported with a crowdfunding initiative by Wildwood Heritage and many public donors, and was match funded by ESCC (Community Wellness Fund) to help provide unique heritage opportunities on the South Downs.