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Beachy Head

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Beachy Head
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Despite its awkwardly and uncomfortably exfoliating-sounding name, Beachy Head has earned international acclaim for its white cliffs and unforgettable, undulating coastline. Located in Southern England's East Sussex county, the cliffs include the highest chalk headland ascension in Britain at 530 feet above sea level. Though a tourist attraction in and of itself, Beachy Head is also surrounded by a couple of quaint lighthouses, the Seven Sisters, another series of chalk cliffs to the west, and the pleasant inland town of East Dean.

Go to Beachy Head If You're Looking for...

Photo ops, hiking and other trail activities, and, er, the grim reaper. But we'll get to that last part later.

Beachy Head Highlights

  • Belle Tout Lighthouse. Since the Beachy Head headland posed a threat to ships, a picturesque, stone-hued lighthouse was constructed in 1834. Though it once required a staff of three men to run, recent times have seen Belle Tout turn to technology for smooth operation. Truly situated at the edge of the cliffs, maintenance personnel were forced to move the lighthouse more than 50 feet inland in 1999 due to erosion.
  • The Seven Sisters. More chalk cliffs, these located between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, accessible via a walk along the coastline.
  • Trail Action. Speaking of walking, whether it's a gentle stroll or a gravity-defying descent atop a mountain bike, Beachy Head dishes up hundreds of miles of trails along and nearby the sea. South Downs Way runs 100 miles between Winchester and Eastbourne, and caters equally to walkers, cyclists, and horseback riders. Friston Forest is packed with criss-crossing trails for off-road pedaling.
  • East Dean. Home to the Tiger Inn, Hiker’s Rest, and, of all things, a tasty Thai restaurant, East Dean provides a cozy home base for Beachy Head visitors. In addition to its accommodations and eats, the village is sets the scene for a thriving community of artists.

Beachy Head Lowlights

  • Well, just one really. Suicide. Beachy Head ranks third in the world for most suicides per year, probably partly because jumping off one of the hard, rugged cliffs into the icy sea below is a pretty sure thing, and partly because the weather in England sucks. In case you were wondering, Most Popular Suicide Destinations #2 and #1 are the Sea of Trees in Mount Fuji, Japan and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Obviously the Japanese kill themselves due to the pressures of living in a society so rife with personal and professional expectations of success, and Californians kill themselves because they're either too vain to get, or too vain to stay, over the age of 50.

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