Part of cliffs at Birling Gap fall as storms batter area

Flooding Cuckmere over the Christmas period
Flooding Cuckmere over the Christmas period

Part of the cliffs at Birling Gap collapsed this week after high winds and torrential rain continued to batter the county.

The Met Office issued yellow warnings for wind and rain as rivers swelled, flooding fields near Alfriston and closing off a footpath in the area which was flooded by fast flowing water.

Wealden District Council closed the Birling Gap cliffs after rocks fell during the storms.

It is estimated that about 9ft of the cliff fell into the sea during a tidal surge on Saturday (January 4).

Extra barriers and tape had been put up to make walkers and visitors aware of the situation.

The National Trust said due to the cliff falls caused by recent high winds and heavy rainfall, access to the beach was likely to remain closed until at least the middle of next week.

The Environment Agency urged people to stay away from coastal areas because of fears large waves could wash people out to sea or seriously injure people with the debris carried in the water.

Elsewhere the Environment Agency issued flood alerts for Pevensey seafront and Norman Road, including the parade at Pevensey.

On Wednesday (January 8) areas around Alfriston and Drusillas Park were still experiencing flooding.

Storms with winds reaching 70mph have been battering the country since December 23.

Between then and New Year’s Day East Sussex County Council roads unit dealt with 200 fallen trees and 100 floods.

On December 23 fields around Hellingly were flooded and on December 27 staff at Drusillas Park in Alfriston worked flat out to get Thomas and Friends train attraction back on track, after high winds brought a large tree down causing trouble on the line.

It took the Estate Team an hour to get to the root of the problem, but the branch line was back up and running in time for the park opening at 10am.

A spokeswoman for the park added: “Elsewhere in the park, the animals appeared to weather the storms very well.

“The keepers were in throughout the Christmas period, keeping a close eye on the zoo’s furry and feathered residents. Most of the animals stayed within the safety and warmth of their indoor enclosures, only venturing out once the storm had passed.”

The Met Office said the long range forecast is for unsettled conditions to continue until the second half of January.

For more information and the latest weather forecasts for the area visit the Met Office’s website at