I still remember my first time here as a child; pulling into the car park and peeking through the windscreen from the backseat of the car, for a day trip to the beach with my friend and her parents.
That first glimpse of the Seven Sisters, East Sussex, the smell of the sea air and the steps down to the grey stoned beach I’ll never forget.
This is one of my favourite places, and over the years I’ve walked here and taken in the sights and sounds with my own family, or on my own for a wonderful, bracing and mindful coastal walk.
Following the chalk and flint paths that are etched into the South Downs within The South Downs National Park, I stop off to take photos, to rest a while just taking in the majestic views over the English Channel, then treat myself to coffee and delicious cake at the end of my walk in the National Trust café (which looks out over the beach) just the perfect day trip for me!
The beach here is ideal for a picnic too, and at low tide there are fantastic rock pools just waiting to be explored.
On my walk I head out from the car park behind the old Coast Guard cottages up Lookout Hill. That first initial climb is so worth the effort when you reach the top, turn round and take in the panoramic views of the unspoilt coastline, The Seven Sisters and the downlands with the wind in your hair!
I then head on up towards the Belle Tout Lighthouse following the cliff top path. The Belle Tout Lighthouse was built in 1832 and decommissioned in 1902, when the new Beach Head Lighthouse was built at the bottom of the cliffs. These days it is a bed and breakfast, but it is a fascinating building full of history that used to be owned by the BBC and had to be moved to its current position in 1999 to protect it from erosion! The Life and Loves of a She Devil was filmed here and it also featured in the James Bond film The Living Daylights.
Continuing on the path on the left hand side of the Belle Tout Lighthouse, fantastic views of Beachy Head, one of the highest chalk cliffs in Britain, open up in front of me along with views of the iconic red and white Beachy Head Light house – this is a perfect opportunity for a picture postcard photo! The Beachy Head Lighthouse is a Grade II listed buildings that stands at 143ft tall. It became operational in 1902 and is the last traditional style ‘rock tower’ built by Trinity House.
At this point I head back towards Birling Gap taking the lower path this time which takes me through small woodland known as the Horseshoe plantation, stopping to take photos of the many wildflowers and birds there at this time of year.
This is a fairly easy, dog friendly route of approximately 2 miles taking about an hour, and if you love taking photos as I do, you’ll be in your element here.