The cliffs at Beer offer the last glimpse of Chalk for anyone travelling West. The striking white cliffs, nestling amongst the red rocks of the coast to either side, are hard to miss. The Chalk is much younger than the red mudstones and sandstones that dominate the East Devon Coast, and would originally have been laid down on top of them.
Here the rocks have been folded downwards, bringing the higher layers of chalk into a snug geological hollow called an syncline. Here they were preserved from the millions of years of erosion that stripped the rest of the Chalk from the surrounding landscape. Beer folks like Chalk. It belongs to them and they belong to it. Visit the village and you will soon realise how deep that connection runs.
How to Get There
Beer can be accessed by the B3174 road from Seaton, which also connects to the A3052 road that links Lyme Regis to Sidmouth. It can also be accessed by bus on Stagecoach’s services.
Where to Stay
Things to Do
At the foot of Sea Hill, the Fine Foundation Centre run by Beer Village Heritage tells the stories of the village and its place on the World Heritage Site and in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The centre is open on weekends during the winter, and throughout the week from Easter onwards.
More information on the World Heritage Site and a great view can be found at the shelter above the beach.
Beer Quarry Caves
The history of the village revolves around the nearby Beer Quarry Caves, where the famous village stone has been worked by hand since Roman times. Work in the caves stopped almost a century ago leaving great caverns, which are now open to the public and offer a fascinating journey through 2,000 years of quarrying history.
The South West Coast Path from Beer leads to the spectacular Hooken Undercliff, and from there to the charming village of Branscombe. To the east is Seaton Hole, Seaton, and onwards into the Undercliffs Reserve.
Car Parking and Facilities
There are multiple short-stay and long-stay car parks in the village, as well as toilet facilities near to Beer shelter. Visit East Devon District Council’s website for parking information.
Only a short drive or bus journey from Beer is The Donkey Sanctuary, where visitors can come and say hello to some of the hundreds of donkeys waiting to meet them – completely free of charge. There are also guided walks, donkey talks and demonstrations, scenic trails, meet the groom sessions, the Nature Centre and a Maze to lose yourself in, as well as regular events held throughout the year and activities during school holidays.
Need to Know: Beer Flint
If you look closely at Beer’s famous white chalk cliffs you’ll see lines of dark flint. Flint was a vital raw material for early man, and this is the last point going west along the coast where it could be successfully mined. There is evidence to suggest that during New Stone Age times (4,000-2,000 BC), Beer flint was traded all over the West Country.