Shocking photo shows extent of recent erosion at Birling Gap

The picture with the shading showing the cliffs which have since fallen. Picture by Peter Hibbs.

The cliffs on January 2, 2014. Picture by Peter Hibbs.

The cliffs yesterday. Picture by Peter Hibbs.

The hotel is now about 4m away from the edge of the clifftop. Picture by Peter Hibbs.

First published in News
Last updated

A military enthusiast has posted a picture which shows how Birling Gap has lost several feet of clifftop already this year. 

Peter Hibbs, who researches WWII pillboxes along the Sussex coast, posted the picture on Twitter last night, warning that the latest falls put Birling Gap Hotel and cottages above at even greater risk of falling into the sea.

The picture was taken on January 2 this year, and the shaded area shows the amount which has since fallen into the sea. 

He has also posted the picture without the shading, and one taken yesterday showing what the clifftop looks like now. Both have the same patch of lichen highlighted as a reference so you can see how much has fallen.

He said: "I think it's loss is inevitable, unless drastic intervention occurs..."

He has also estimated the hotel is now just four metres away from the clifftop. 

Estimate of cliff erosion at Birling Gap so far this year - hotel and cottages threatened! pic.twitter.com/sdJGtL6KEX

— Peter Hibbs (@sussexPillbox) February 10, 2014

Yesterday, Newhaven coastguard Barry Johnson warned people to stay away from the cliffs. He told The Argus: "Birling Gap has also experienced multiple cliff falls over the past week resulting in the beach being closed to the public.

"If you see any persons in difficulties on the coast do not attempt a self rescue. Dial 999 and ask for the coastguard who will task properly trained and equipped rescue personnel."

The hotel has been owned by the National Trust since 2010, although much of its space is unused.

Following the latest cliff fall last week, it closed its cafe area and the steps. 

In May last year, the trust was given a £27,000 grant to transform the hotel into a community space. 

The average rate of erosion at Birling Gap is about one metre a year, although it tends to happen in sudden bursts, such as last week's dramatic fall.

In 2008, the trust said it would leave the coastline there to the elements rather than try to stop the inevitable march of the sea. 

 

Comments (6)

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1:21pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Roundbill says...

I feel sorry for the poor schmuck who has to hammer in the fence-posts to stop people and livestock straying too close to the cliff-edge.
I feel sorry for the poor schmuck who has to hammer in the fence-posts to stop people and livestock straying too close to the cliff-edge. Roundbill
  • Score: 14

1:47pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Omnishambles_1 says...

I blame the Greens for this...
I blame the Greens for this... Omnishambles_1
  • Score: 7

2:52pm Tue 11 Feb 14

upsidedowntuctuc says...

Anyone want to buy a lovely seafront Hotel with fantastic views out to Sea?
Anyone want to buy a lovely seafront Hotel with fantastic views out to Sea? upsidedowntuctuc
  • Score: 7

4:52pm Tue 11 Feb 14

tez1959 says...

shame used to go there for a nice walk then back for some grub .could open it up again and make it the greens new offices that would be funny to see them slip sliding away.
shame used to go there for a nice walk then back for some grub .could open it up again and make it the greens new offices that would be funny to see them slip sliding away. tez1959
  • Score: 3

11:10pm Tue 11 Feb 14

whoee! says...

Cor dear! that lots going in the lol
Cor dear! that lots going in the lol whoee!
  • Score: 1

9:13am Wed 12 Feb 14

Juleyanne says...

Dog walkers take heed! Please keep your dogs on leads round crumbling clifftops! Many dogs have gone over chasing seagulls and rabbits and contrary to some owners belief, no, they don't hear you when you call. It has been scientifically proved dogs go 'deaf' when in pursuit. With high winds they would not hear you anyway. The risk for humans and dogs right now is at it's highest. Extension leads or ordinary leads are essential to avoid tragedy and risking others lives trying to save a badly injured dog who has fallen onto ledges. Sadly, many die which could be prevented so easily by owners taking common sense precautions.
Dog walkers take heed! Please keep your dogs on leads round crumbling clifftops! Many dogs have gone over chasing seagulls and rabbits and contrary to some owners belief, no, they don't hear you when you call. It has been scientifically proved dogs go 'deaf' when in pursuit. With high winds they would not hear you anyway. The risk for humans and dogs right now is at it's highest. Extension leads or ordinary leads are essential to avoid tragedy and risking others lives trying to save a badly injured dog who has fallen onto ledges. Sadly, many die which could be prevented so easily by owners taking common sense precautions. Juleyanne
  • Score: 7

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