Birling Gap

East Sussex

Birling Gap
© Geograph

Water Quality

Annual classification

2018 Excellent

Today's forecast

Forecasts are not available for this location.

This beach is situated at the base of the chalk cliffs called the Seven Sisters. The substrate is shingle giving way to sand and chalk from the cliffs. It is a voluntary marine nature reserve. A good place for fossil hunting. There are steps down to the beach.


Popular activities here are rockpooling, windsurfing, surfing and canoeing. Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters is managed by the National Trust - they have a café, shop and visitor centre on the cliff top. Access to the beach may be closed at short notice due to cliff falls or poor weather.

Wildlife and Walks

The beach forms an important part of the Seaford to Beachy Head Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The area is rich chalk grassland and is a perfect habitat for butterflies.

What's tested here?

Water samples are taken at this designated bathing water by the Environment Agency, during the bathing season, 15th May to 30th September.
Find out more about designated bathing waters.

High levels of bacteria in the water can indicate pollution from sewage treatment works or polluted rain water draining from the land.
Where does pollution comes from and how can you help?

Water quality can be reduced for up to 72 hours after heavy rain. Look out for temporary signs at the beach and on our website.

Annual classification

2018 Excellent

What does this mean?

At the end of every bathing season the water quality is classified as either:

Excellent — the highest classification meaning the water is cleanest

Good — generally good water quality

Sufficient — meets minimum standards

Poor — You are advised not to swim. The beach will stay open and an action plan should be in place to improve the water quality.

Today's forecast

Forecasts are not available for this location.

More information about potential pollution sources and improvement plans.


This Weather Widget is provided by the Met Office

Tide times

Potential hazards at this beach

Tidal cut-off Tidal cut-off
Deep shelving beach Deep shelving beach

Lifeguarded locations - top five safety tips

Non-lifeguarded locations For those who can’t make it to a lifeguarded beach

For more information visit

Facilities at Birling Gap

Food Food Toilets Toilets



Birling Gap car park - a charge applies (free for NT members).

Dog restrictions


No current information

Beach cleaning

No current information


We are currently unable to display this information.