Beachy Head, 1939 is by the artist Eric Ravilious, who often visited Belle Tout and other areas of the South Downs. It was recently acquired for the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne which holds the best of his works. The view is from the approach to Belle Tout lighthouse or perhaps from the lantern room atContinue reading “Ravilious”
Four hundred feet below the lighthouse, there used to be a hole dug into the chalk. More like a cave, with a carpet, table, chair and lamp. A man sat in it night after night, either saving sailors from the rocks or guiding smugglers safely home. Or both.
“You’ve got all the school groups coming through today,” Shirley, who used to work at the lighthouse, once told me as a group of hunched, listless looking teenagers snaked slowly uphill. They did not realise they were being watched.
The wheatear comes here at this time of year. It’s a small bird with a white rump, which is where its name comes from. The original English name was White Arse, but the Victorians thought that was a bit rude. Here is the story of how a White Arse pie saved lives.
The year has just begun. Now I have come to Belle Tout lighthouse on the south coast of England, in the South Downs National Park, on the edge of a four hundred foot drop down a sheer white chalk cliff face, to make a start.