Beachy Head Lighthouse Walk 2016

Walkers at the lighthouseTHIS was the amazing scene at Beachy Head Lighthouse as around 900 walkers took advantage of a rare opportunity when a low spring tide occurs at the right time and during daylight hours.

The walk was originally started in 2011 when it emerged that owner Trinity House decided not to re-paint the famous Beachy Head Lighthouse in Eastbourne and allow it to slowly fade to its original grey granite colour.

The reason was the stripes were no longer required to aid ships’ navigation.

This caused some controversy nationwide and a fundraising campaign was launched, including a feature on BBC1’s Countryfile programme, to raise £45,000.

Work on the painting finally began in September 2013 after the target was reached, and some of the money was raised by staging the walk from the foot of the Downs in Eastbourne to the lighthouse and back.

Such was the popularity of the Beachy Head Lighthouse Challenge that it has now become an annual event, and this year’s walk was the fourth.

It is organised by Eastbourne AM Rotary Club and campaign group Save the Stripes.

Organiser Rotarian Martin Wellings said: “It was an amazing afternoon and we were fortunate to have been blessed with fine weather.Walkers at the lighthouse

“There was no doubt that people were enjoying themselves, and it was quite a challenge getting everyone there and back by the time the tide was due to come back in.

“It is quite staggering to think how this walk has developed over the four years. From something quite small it has expanded greatly, and next year we would love to hit the 1000 mark – weather permitting of course.

“We were greatly supported by volunteers from St John Ambulance and Raynet, the Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network. It was a memorable day.”

Walkers paid for the privilege of taking part, and organisers hope they will exceed the £3,000 raised last year.

A third of the money raised goes into a fund to repaint the stripes again when needed in the future, while the rest is donated to local charities by the Rotary club.

Walkers at the lighthouse