Beachy Head Landscapes and Legends

by Wildwood Heritage in Eastbourne, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Total raised £6,775

raised so far

+ est. £853.75 Gift Aid



Help us raise the cultural awareness of a landscape synonymous with tragedy as we uplift communities through heritage and nature projects.

by Wildwood Heritage in Eastbourne, East Sussex, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 2nd August 2023 we'd raised £6,745 with 24 supporters in 35 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Who Are We?

We are a community interest company of archaeologists and heritage consultants, we are story tellers, community builders, compassionate humans, parents.


What we can do

We want to build a sense of home in this fragmented world, to build a sense of natural responsibility in the town, and reframe the context of well-being in nature in this landscape, we are saying yes to life.


One Unique Landscape

This series of projects is centred around the exploration of landscape on the edge of England, along a borderland of coastal cliffs and dry valleys, noted for springy turf, wildflowers and skylarks, long views and invigorating air.  We want to share the specialness of this beautiful headland.   We want to learn from it, to help preserve it from the indiscriminate sweep of the human tide.  We want to help care for this land into the future, so it can be gifted to the unknown generations of tomorrow.


These Rocks of Ages

We will be delving into deep time and geological exploration, discovering the ground beneath our feet.  The bedrock here is ancient and mysterious, it tells of climate and catastrophe in other epochs, it holds the story of our fossil record, it is the very foundation of our town.  


On Beachy Head we have a Cretaceous story to tell, of a warm climate and merged landmasses, of dinosaurs and sea reptiles, of extinction and cataclysmic destruction on a global scale.  We can use the climate stories of the past to help us understand the climate stories of today.  We need to learn more about this incredible geology before too much more of it crumbles into the waves and dissipates into sediments on the sea floor.


Our Shared Ancestral Lands

As archaeologists, we view the landscape through layers of human interactions, we learn from excavations of the past and prepare for archaeological explorations of the future.  From the earliest evidence of humankind on the headland, we can trace our human heritage in the curves of the earthworks pressed into the hillsides, in the pits of rubbish and ritual, in the scoops of graves, in the outlines of old farmhouses and fields, we know so much of what has gone on here in the last few thousand years, yet there is so much more we don’t know.  What we do know about community archaeology, is that it brings people together as a community, it generates positivity and togetherness, it brings awe and rootedness, gives meaning to life.


Our Natural Wild

We are passionate about the natural wild of this unique landscape and all its fragile complexity.  Beachy Head is home to badgers, voles, bats, foxes, peregrine falcons, swallows, ravens, butterflies, bees, windblown hawthorns, orchids and wild strawberries, the list is almost endless.  Such extraordinary biodiversity exists on the very edge of the town, where it is marginalised by farmland, by well-used roads and daily streams of tourists.  


Gulls and cormorants, dolphins and porpoises, seahorses and seals inhabit these coastal waters.  Their stories are untold, though their lives are lived so closely to our own.  They are at risk from polluted waters, plastic discard, pleasure boating and the portentous threat of global climate change.


We want to learn how to protect the natural wild here, to raise awareness of it, to recognise its fragility and to encourage caretaking of these precarious habitats.  


Centuries of Stories in the Landscape

We will be exploring this landscape through its social history, through the records of past inhabitants and visitors, through the writings of people both famous and anonymous and every status in between.  The shared heritage of our town is held in stories, etched into history books and old papers, documented in the names of lives, in the passages and deeds of lifetimes.  These stories are readable, writable and shareable.  We believe we are our history even as we are our future.  This landscape is built of story, of history, of all the human stories that have become part of the impression of the land, and we endeavour to share these stories on local and global platforms, reshaping the narrative of Beachy Head.


This Ancient Coast

Since the advent of shipping, these coastal waters have been plied and explored by boats of every size.   For thousands of years, ships have been wrecked here, for hundreds of years these wrecks have been documented.  


We will bring the maritime history of these coastal waters to bright and vivid life, unravelling the stories of global exploration and sea trade, war and piracy, smuggling and coast-guarding.  There is more to a headland than its chalk bedrock, there is more to the sea than its waves.  Where the two combine, jagged geology dictates wreckage and generates sea stories of every kind.  

We are pulling these stories out of the record books and archives, turning them into a database for everyone to access, spinning them into inspiration for creative responses.

1685295792_eb82e36c-ed94-4483-ab26-8225e0669028.jpegThe Spirit of the Downs

As others have done before us in respect of this extraordinary landscape, we will be raising the spirit of the downs, lifting it up for everyone to see.  This land has an eternal allure, it has been and will ever be a popular tourist destination, a natural muse, a place of wonder, for solitude, in company.  This land is special for its own wild merit and for the inspiration it engenders in people from every walk of life, from every nation.


People young and old, learned and learning, walk and have walked the pathways of these undulating meadow-cliffs.  Every day, hundreds of people walk or jog or cycle their way through the landscape, with dogs, with families, with tour groups, with school children.  This is the land that gives and keeps on giving.  


Artists come here, and writers, photographers and musicians, seeking out the elusive nature of the landscape, filling up on its natural inspirations.  This is a vibrant and full landscape, full of life, full of joy.  Kites fly here on ribboned strings, model planes buzz through the airwaves, blankets spread wide for picnics and long, lazy summer afternoons.  Here is the opening for community, the crux of togetherness in a beautiful landscape.


Building Community on the Headland

We’ve got three main projects ready to go - a Shipwreck Research Project, a Dolphin Landwatch Project and a Communications from the Headland Project. These are the projects we are seeking initial funding for.


We have willing volunteers ready to plunge into huge documentary research investigations, we have a community of writers working on expressing the landscape through their experiences, we have creative communities ready at hand to turn our visions into their visions.  We are creating legacy.

We are working towards community archaeology, eco-heritage downland and ocean awareness, and walking-for-wellbeing campaigns.  We are developing heritage engagement projects for a deepened sense of at-homeness in the great outdoors.


These projects will involve volunteers, school children, retired communities, participants of all ages from the community and local specialists, pairing curiosity with knowledge, pairing inspiration with creativity.  We’re busy finding ways to help others engage with these wild fringes of the town.  

Between us, we can change the narrative of Beachy Head.


All our projects will be fed into the creative communities of the town and wider geographic reaches.  We will pass our landscape explorations into the hands of painters and writers, photographers and creatives of every kind, to extend the uplifting reach of our Beachy Head explorations.


These are stories people want to hear, and read, and engage with, and share.  We want to extend our messages to a wider community, to take the stories out into the landscape where they can do the most good.


We want to help people research their own landscape, help them learn how to root themselves into their town.  We want to engage with people who will help us raise the cultural wellbeing of a landscape famed for its negative associations.


Synonymous with tragedy and loss. this landscape has for centuries been cast in a sinister light.  But it has an uplifting aspect and a unique heritage that generates stories and community in a way that has only just begun to be realised.


We are standing at the forefront of the change this landscape needs and we are dedicating our energies to uplifting the story of the area.


We need your help to achieve the next steps, to reawaken a positive impression of the landscape so its inhabitants and visitors can fully benefit from all the good it has to offer.

We hope we will save a few lives along the way.


We are one of five projects to be supported by East Sussex County Council’s new Community Wellbeing Fund.  If we can raise £5000 they will matchfund the same amount to our project.

(Photo credits: Lee Roberts, Annalie Seaman, Jo Seaman)

(Ship and dolphin logo credit: Valeria Higgins)


This project offered rewards

£10 or more


Your name will be listed on our supporters page.

£20 or more


We will send you four Quarterly E-Newsletters, helping you keep in touch with our work and our discoveries. Wherever you are in the world, you will be included in our local community.

£50 or more


We will send you a copy of our first Heritage Publication and give you early access to our inspirational vlogs.

£100 or more


Sponsor our researchers by helping us add relevant research books to our communal library. Each new book will help many volunteers access vital information about the landscapes and seascapes of the past.

£1,000 or more


Sponsor a print run for one of our Heritage Publications. Your name or your company logo will appear in print in the publication

£20,000 or more


Sponsor an archaeological excavation. Help us learn more about the people who have lived here on the headland through time as we delve into the ancient soils to uncover more human stories of our beautiful downland landscapes. Come and be part of the experience too!

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected