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Beachy Head

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How the Beachy Head Lighthouse was built. Photo shows a temporary cable car and iron ocean platform transporting workers and stones to the lighthouse site.

Beachy Head lighthouse under construction

Beachy Head (Template:Gbmapping) is a chalk headland on the south coast of England, close to the town of Eastbourne in the county of East Sussex. The cliff there is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 m (530 ft) above sea level. The peak allows views of the south east coast from Dungeness to the east, to Selsey Bill in the west.

The prominence of Beachy Head has made it a landmark for sailors in the English Channel. It is noted as such in the sea shanty Spanish Ladies:

The first land we sighted was called the Dodman,
Next Rame Head off Plymouth, off Portsmouth the Wight;
We sailed by Beachy, by Fairlight and Dover,
And then we bore up for the South Foreland light.

It was also a danger to shipping. The famous Belle Tout lighthouse built in 1831 is located near the edge of the cliff on the next headland west from Beachy Head. It was moved more than 17 m (50 ft) further inland in 1999 due to cliff erosion [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/specials/set99/298123.stm). The lighthouse was superseded by the newer Beachy Head Lighthouse, 43m in height, built in the sea below in 1902.

West from Belle Tout, the cliffs drop down to Birling Gap, and beyond that the Seven Sisters.

Beachy Head is notorious as a popular location for people to commit suicide.

The third day of fighting in the Battle of Portland, 1653, took place off Beachy Head during the First Anglo-Dutch War. The Battle of Beachy Head, 1690, was a naval engagement during the War of the Grand Alliance.

The chalk was formed in the Cretaceous era when the land was part of the sea bed. Over the 65 million years since then, continental drift has forced the chalk above water, forming the dramatic cliffs of the Sussex coast.

External link

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