Staying safe and enjoying Birling Gap

A stormy view from Birling Gap

The Seven Sisters and the chalk cliffs are constantly eroding. This erosion has created the beautiful coastline that we see today, but it’s important to remember that cliff falls and erosion are part of this process. Although they are more likely to occur after heavy rainfall or storms, cliff falls and landslides can happen at any time. It can also be extremely dangerous to stand near the cliff edge and we advise visitors to act sensibly when visiting the area. We have permanent signs in place warning visitors of the danger.

Cliff falls and erosion

It isn’t safe to sit or stand close to the edge of the cliffs as they may be unstable or undercut in places and there is a greater risk of cliff falls at this time of year with the winter weather conditions.  We also advise visitors to stay away from the base of the cliffs when walking on the beach in case of cliff falls. 

Cliff edge safety signage
Standard cliff safety signs showing danger cliff edge and cliff falls


Common sense safety advice

  • Do not take unnecessary risks and stay away from the edge of the cliff top.
  • Stay away from the base of cliffs: rock falls can happen at any time.
  • Do not climb or walk over rock fall debris, especially after wet weather.
  • Always pay attention to warning signs; they are there to advise you on how to stay safe.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Beware of steep, shelving beaches and large waves.
  • Be aware of tide times. The sea comes in and out twice a day and it is possible to get cut off by the incoming tide or forced up against the cliffs. See BBC Tide Times for the latest information.
  • If you are looking for fossils, do not hammer into the cliffs or solid rock as this will cause long lasting damage and can be dangerous.

Staying safe when you visit

The Seven Sisters and Birling Gap are a wonderful place to visit, but it’s important to use common sense and caution – and always pay attention to warning signs and messages about how to stay safe.  As a gateway to the South Downs National Park we have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country offering wide unspoilt views of the cliffs, downs and sea scape, but as with all natural or wild environments it is important to take care and treat the outdoors with respect.

If you see anyone in danger, or witness someone who has fallen, is not to attempt rescue and to dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.