Warning after pair cut off by the tide at beauty spot

Sightseers are being urged to check routes before heading along the shore after two people became cut off by the sea at Birling Gap.

On Wednesday last week (March 5) a university student had been walking from Seaford to Birling Gap but did not realise the steps were inaccessible and closed off because of stormy conditions and cliff falls in the area.

Newhaven lifeboat launched after the woman became cut off by tides. It used its inflatable Y boat with two crew on board to rescue the woman, who was found to be safe and well and was not in need of medical assistance.

The next day crews members were out again after a man found himself in the same situation. The Eastbourne resident, who had walked from the town to the area, was taken from the beach by the inflatable boat and he was also found to be safe and well.

The man and woman had allowed ample time for their journey but both did not realise they could not access the steps at Birling Gap. The bottom flight of steps has been taken away and will be repaired.

Deputy second coxswain Phill Corsi said, “This is the second incident of this nature in two days, it is really important to check with the HM Coastguards that any route is fully accessible before embarking on any shoreline walk at present due to the significant coastal erosion which has taken place.”

A series of rock falls at Birling Gap has led to Wealden District Council reminding people to stay away from the cliff edge.

Poor weather over recent months has seen the cliff eroding at a terrific rate and meant the popular cliff-top cafe has been forced to demolish its sun lounge an ice-cream parlour after rock falls left the building perilously close to the edge.

The spokesperson said, “Birling Gap steps, access to the beach and viewing platform continue to remain closed to the public.

“The public should also stay away from unfenced cliff edges along the Seven Sisters.

“Recent frosts and months of heavy rain have made all cliff edges unsafe, so please keep a safe distance.”

The bad weather has led to Seaford Town Council urging people to be extra vigilant when walking near cliff edges (see page 5).

To watch a video of a recent rock fall at Birling Gap visit the website: www.eastbourneherald.co.uk or search for Birling Gap rock fall, Eastbourne Herald.

To keep up to date with events at Birling Gap visit: www.wealden.gov.uk