Call for more warnings at Birling Gap cliffs

Tourist at cliff edge Image copyright Lodestone Publishing
Image caption The tourists were seen on the edge of the cliff between Birling Gap and Belle Tout lighthouse

Calls are being made for improved warning signs at a crumbling cliff top in East Sussex after tourists were pictured close to the edge.

One woman was seen sitting on a protruding section of the National Trust chalk cliff between Birling Gap and the Belle Tout lighthouse.

Walkers have been warned to stay away from the edge since a major cliff fall further along the coast in May.

The National Trust the signs included visual instructions as well as written.

Bob Battersby, who took the picture on Sunday, said he thought the tourist sitting on the cliff may be Japanese.

"There are some National Trust signs in English warning about the risk of cliff falls but hardly anyone up there was English." he said.

"The signs need to be bigger and in Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Italian and Spanish to warn the language students and other tourists who visit this unique piece of coastline."

'Cliffs are crumbling'

Geologist Rory Mortiemore said putting up signs in other languages would be a good idea.

"I can understand people who are not local not fully understanding that these cliffs are crumbling," he said.

"When you look at them they stand pretty vertical and look stable.

"Along from Birling Gap and around Belle Toute and up to the top of Beachy Head the chalk tends to fall in big slabs."

Image copyright Ian Noall
Image caption A group of more than 15 students were pictured peering over the cliff edge soon after the collapse in May

A group of students were described as "mad" after they were spotted posing for pictures on the cliff edge days after the collapse in May.

The National Trust said it recommended that visitors stay at least 16ft (5m) from the cliff edge.

"The warning signs are standardised Health and Safety Executive cliff edge signs and so include visuals as well as language," it said.

"They are the same as those displayed around the country."

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