Major rescue operation in Eastbourne triggers fresh warning from National Trust and Coastguard

Two women getting stranded this month at the base of Beachy Head has caused the authorities to remind people about the importance of checking tide times.

Earlier this month, two women had to be rescued from the base of Beachy Head because they got stranded when out for a walk.

A major rescue operation was then launched, with Newhaven, Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams called out to rescue the pair, along with the Coastguard helicopter and Eastbourne RNLI Inshore Lifeboat.

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Warnings about tide times (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

This incident triggered the Coastguard to warn people about tide times.

Julia Fuller, senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard, said, “If you’re going for a coastal walk this weekend go exploring as the tide is going out, make sure you have time to get back and know when the tide is going to be coming in. If you get caught out by a rising tide, find a safe location, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

Local hiker Graham Pocock said there used to be a set of tide tables posted in the notice board at the Birling Gap cafe.

He said, “As a local I have always been aware of the need to follow the tide out round the Head when on a hike. During a recent visit by myself on Wednesday June 1 there were no such tables in the notice board. Is the National Trust afraid of being 'trusted' I wonder?”

A spokesperson for the National Trust said, “People do need to be vigilant about the state of the tide when they’re walking at the coast. We’ve been working with our neighbours to raise awareness about the issue of people getting cut off by the tide; they sometimes try and walk from Seven Sisters Country Park, owned by the South Downs National Park Authority, or from Eastbourne. We wouldn’t recommend that people attempt either walk.

"Our website warns of the dangers and has a link to the BBC tide tables. Once on site at Birling Gap there are tide tables clearly displayed on the viewing platform. During opening times there is additional information on tide times in the visitor centre and we provide signage on the route between the visitor centre, the café and the platform.”

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