Birling Gap makes up part of the stunning Seven Sister’s cliff formation….a world famous natural wonder and a fantastic coastal playground. This was our first visit as a family and I was excited to see what the kids made of the rock pools, fossils and white cliffs.
We arrived via the East Dean road after some confusion with a diversion sign…diverting us the wrong way. The Beachy Head road is currently closed although Birling Gap and all it’s facilities are open and accessible through East Dean. There’s a large car park, cafe, National Trust shop and toilet block. We arrived at lunchtime and found a number of suitable picnic spots. We chose to eat in a small landscaped area, with driftwood, lobster pots and pebbled areas for the children to explore. This was a great place for our 1 year old to potter as he munched on his sandwich..and was tucked far away enough from the car park that I could relax a little whilst I ate mine!
Energy levels topped up we climbed down the 50 steps that take you down to beach level. If you are bringing a baby make sure you pack a baby carrier as push chairs are a no go. The pebbled beach offers a range of areas of interest. The kids all charged straight to the sea throwing stones, competing for the biggest splash. Matt and I held Logan’s hand as he struggled to balance on the bumpy boulders, fascinated with everything he found on the shore.
We walked along the right side of the beach, drawn to a mass of rock pools and areas of smooth limestone that Logan could walk on independently. Daisy hopped over the seaweed covered rocks towards the small waves to nose in the rock pools. We took it in turns to work up the courage to lift up small rocks in the hope of finding a sneaky crab…squealing with delight when one scuttled through the clouded sand.
Birling Gap is a brilliant place to collect fossils. The visitor centre offers tracker packs to help guide you on your fossil hunting journey….finding a fossil is also on the National Trust list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4….what better reason do you need to get involved! We’re no experts in fossils but from just exploring the boulders and rocks on the beach we could easily find obvious imprints of small sea creatures and ammonites (the ones that look like a snail!) Next time we visit we will go prepared with a guide book and magnifying glass! Our oldest boys loved looking at the sedimentary layers in the cliffs and learning about the different types of rocks….Birling Gap is a Geologists heaven!
We have decided to visit Birling Gap again very soon. We absolutely loved our visit but felt a bit unprepared for all the delights on offer, so don’t be like us…take your fishing net and buckets, get your fossil guides at the ready and wear decent footwear as the surfaces are very uneven on the beach. Oh, and one last important thing…check the tide times! Let me know what you discover….