The serene beauty of this typically English landscape stands at odds with its sinister reputation. Rising 162 meters above sea, Beachy Head is the highest chalk cliff on the southern coast of Britain. It is a well known local tourist attraction, and a conveniently placed bus stop allows easy access to the highest point of the cliff. This combination of easy access, great height, and physical beauty has contributed to the spot’s dark side. The average number of suicides per year committed at Beachy Head is 20, by far the highest for any single location in UK.
This suicide rate has prompted the authorities to install a hot-line telephone box with a direct connection to suicide support center. In addition, since 2004 the spot is patrolled several times per day by volunteers of Beachy Head Chaplaincy team (BHCT). The BHCT is run by the Christian charity “More Fire Revival Ministries.” The number of suicides has somewhat subsided recently, however media attention focused on this spot may have possibly contributed to its macabre popularity.
On the less somber note, Beachy Head is a place of remarkable beauty which can be enjoyed by visitors who are not under psychological distress. On a clear day it offers a spectacular view of neighboring coastline, nearly 40 miles to the east to Dungeness in Kent, and even further in the westward direction – up to 70 miles – past Seaford Head to Newhaven and Brighton and then on to Selsey Bill near Chichester in West Sussex.
Of interest to some may also be the bunker that the cliff hides, originally used by the RAF, it’s now decommissioned and due to vandals trying to gain access has been plugged with a tree.
Know Before You Go
Getting There - Beachy Head is easily reached by car. From Eastbourne take Duke's Drive from the seafront (be careful of the steeply winding road), Meads Road from Meads and East Dean Road from Old Town. From the west follow the signs on the A259. Parking is free in the lay-bys near Beachy Head and there is a large pay and display public car park.
Eastbourne Buses run a service along the seafront from the Sovereign Centre to Beachy Head.