CoastView: Images 'then and now' - Belle Tout

Belle Tout lighthouse was built in 1831 on the cliff top east of Birling Gap. Unfortunately, its beams were too high up to be readily seen from boats in foggy weather, and a number of shipwrecks occurred. In 1902 the present lighthouse beneath Beachy Head was completed, and Belle Tout became a private house. Although originally built 35 m from the cliff edge, by 1986 the gap had narrowed to only 16 m, equivalent to a rate of cliff retreat of 0.11 m per year. The owners of the lighthouse applied for planning permission and appealed for funds to move the building back from the cliff edge. For information on the moving of the lighthouse read the newspaper reports on this topic. See the cliff retreat map to see a quantification of the retreat rate in the last 124 years.cliff retreat map to compare the retreat rates of adjacent sections of cliff.

Belle Tout lighthouse from the east in about 1908.
Belle Tout lighthouse from the east in 2002 after the move. The lighthouse appears to be about the same distance from the cliff edge as in 1908, but since then both edge and lighthouse have retreated!
The light house today from the west. Its former position can be clearly seen to the right of the car.
Airphoto taken after the move. The red line shows the distance the lighthouse has moved.
Note also the tongue of blocks on the shore platform from a previous cliff fall.
Airphoto taken from GetMapping archive of East Sussex air photographs located in the Geography Resource Centre at the University of Sussex.
Distant view of Belle Tout lighthouse from the slope leading up to Beachy Head. The year is 1928.
In this photograph taken in July 2002 the road up to the lighthouse is much nearer to the cliff edge, as a result of erosion over the preceding 74 years.