Maritime Cliffs

There are two types of maritime cliffs in East Sussex - the chalk cliffs between Brighton and Eastbourne and the softer sandstone cliffs between Hastings and Fairlight. Altogether there are approximately 45km of cliffs in East Sussex, which are largely undefended from erosion by the sea. These have national and European importance for their biology and geology.

Cliffs can be a hostile area to colonise, but they provide an important niche for several species - several types of solitary bees and wasps burrow in the sandstone cliffs.

Chalk
Chalk Cliffs

A few hardy species of plants can survive, either on cliff tops or in the small amounts of soil which build up on ledges. Hoary stock persists in East Sussex despite massive coastal development, and is only found in a few sites on the south coast. Thrift is a typical coastal plant, growing in densely packed cushions to protect itself from the wind.

Our cliffs have significant ornithological interest, with breeding populations of kittiwakes and fulmars nesting on narrow ledges, and sand martins found nesting in the sandstone.

Seven Sisters Country Park
Maritime cliffs. Photo Alex Tait