New steps are planned at Birling Gap due to erosion

Birling Gap. Car smashed through fence and landed on the beach at foot of cliffs on 18th June. Picture taken 19th June 2012 E25058N
Birling Gap. Car smashed through fence and landed on the beach at foot of cliffs on 18th June. Picture taken 19th June 2012 E25058N
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In response to continuing cliff erosion, Birling Gap is being fitted with a new access staircase.

The cliffs at Birling Gap are visited by over 350,000 people each year. The £60,000 investment in the replacement steps, being made jointly by Wealden District Council and The National Trust, will ensure access to beach is maintained in the future.

Work will begin on May 7 and is expected to continue until May 24. It will mean the public will not be able to access the beach at Birling Gap during the 18-day period.

“We regret having to close access to Birling Gap during this period but we want to make sure Birling Gap is fully accessible again for the Spring Bank Holiday, 27 May, and the rest of summer,” said Nigel Hannam, Director of

Corporate Services at Wealden District Council.

Since the last replacement staircase was installed in 1996, the cliffs where the staircase and walkway are attached have eroded by 10 metres. With such tremendous forces of nature at work, it is important the most violent storms of the winter months are avoided when carrying out the work.

Walkers will not be able to access the beach at Birling Gap while the work is being carried out and should not attempt to walk the shoreline from Eastbourne to Cuckmere Haven because of the risk of being cut off by incoming tides.

The replacement staircase is made from galvanised steel fitted with sustainable hardwood treads. The work is being carried out by Uckfield-based civil engineers C J Thorne & Co.