The first Challenge was in 2013, so it is now in its eighth year (2020 was cancelled due to COVID). There are very few days when it is possible to walk around the lighthouse as it has to be during spring tides, when it is light enough and on a weekend – this year it is planned to take place Saturday 24 July 2021.
The original event was organised by the Rotary Club of Eastbourne AM in conjunction with the “Save the Stripes” campaign and supported by the Eastbourne Herald in order to raise money to repaint the Beachy Head lighthouse at a cost of some £30,000. Had this not been undertaken the iconic red and white stripes would have been allowed to fade and eventually disappear. Due to the popularity of the event Eastbourne AM Rotary Club has continued to organise the Challenge every year since with the help of volunteers. Part of the funds raised are set aside towards the next re-paint of the lighthouse with the rest donated to local charities which have included the RNLI, St. John Ambulance and the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
The arrival point will be at the kiosk at the foot of the Downs by St. Bede’s school in Eastbourne. On arrival, participants proceed up the lane for about half a mile to Whitbread Hollow where they will see the check-in desks alongside a gazebo.
Once checked-in, we set off across the Downs to Cow Gap (approx. 15 minutes), down the steps to the beach and over the rocks, boulders, sand and slippery seaweed to the lighthouse (approx. 50 minutes).
On return, all participants will receive a certificate to authenticate that they are one of the few people who have undertaken the “Lighthouse Challenge”.
To take part in this event, you need to be reasonably fit for a mixture of walking and clambering. Some of the rocks around the lighthouse are quite large, in places reaching 4/5ft high and, due to seaweed, parts of the route can also be very slippery - the going gets more difficult the nearer to the lighthouse you get!
We do not allow anyone under 16 years of age to go on the Challenge unless accompanied by an adult, and we generally advise it not to be suitable for children under the age of 12 as the going can become difficult near the lighthouse. There is, however, the option to complete only part of the walk, enjoy the stunning views and then turn around and return to avoid the more challenging sections.
Safety is obviously paramount, and it is for this reason that we have a team of volunteers at key points along the route to keep track of all participants in addition to which we have marshals to ensure nobody is left on the beach, first aid available and both the Coast Guard and the RNLI are on standby in case of need. Please read the “Information for Participants” for full information and hints, and do re-read just before you join our annual Lighthouse Challenge.
There is an entry fee of £8.50 for adults & £3.50 for under 16s. This year it will not be possible to register on the day as we are required to restrict numbers due to the impact of COVID.
How to Book
Bookings are made on-line using Eventbrite; which is now open. Please complete the registration form and pay on-line. By paying you and everyone in your party agree to be bound by the safety guidelines for the event and acknowledge that all participants are responsible for their own safety at all times and enter and walk at their own risk. It is further understood that the organisers cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss sustained during or after this event.
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