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Walkers on the clifftop on the South Downs Way footpath at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex with a view of the sea in the background
Walking at Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Bounding up to Belle Tout at Birling Gap

Take a wander up to Mad Jack Fuller's folly on this relaxing circular walk and enjoy some sweeping sea and downland views, as well as wonderful flora and the Beachy Head lighthouse.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Birling Gap car park by the coastguard station, grid ref: TV554960

Step 1

From the bus stop follow the fingerpost with a yellow arrow saying 'South Downs Way'. Walk up the path and through the gate with the National Trust 'The Lookout' sign and follow this path up the hill to another fingerpost. Follow this fingerpost and take the path bearing left along the clifftop or through the scrub.

Etching of the shipwreck Nympha Americana on the beach at Birling Gap in 1747
Etching of the shipwreck Nympha Americana on the beach at Birling Gap in 1747 | © National Maritime Museum

Step 2

At the top, head towards the lighthouse either along the clifftop path or through the scrub.

Step 3

Follow the path to the left of the lighthouse. Continue to follow the old access track down the hill. This will afford wonderful views towards Beachy Head and the candy-striped lighthouse. At the bottom of the path turn left to head back towards Birling Gap.

Family walking along the clifftop at Birling Gap, part of the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs range, East Sussex
A family walking up towards Belle Tout lighthouse | © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

Step 4

Continue walking along the track around the base of the hill. This will take you through a small dappled woodland known as the Horseshoe Plantation, much loved by dragonflies and migrating birds.

Purple and yellow bee orchid against set against the fresh green of the meadow
Bee orchid | © Morwenna Egan

Step 5

Continue along the track and this will take you back to the car park from where you started.

End point

Birling Gap car park by the coastguard station, grid ref: TV554960

Trail map

Bounding up to Belle Tout trail map
Bounding up to Belle Tout map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

East Dean, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 0AB

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Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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