E.T. L., 19th Century
Beer Head from Sidmouth Beach, at Low Tide 1896

inscribed and dated " Beer Head 1896"

pencil and watercolour
12.50 x 17.50 cm.


Beer Head is a vertical-walled headland along the Jurassic Coast of south Devon, where the usual west-east course of the shoreline is briefly interrupted as the land bends to the north. Nearby are several interesting landscapes including, to one side, several isolated beaches linked by sea caves and sprinkled with nicely eroded rocks, and to the other, a longer, wider beach beneath the Hooken Cliffs, a white, 400 foot high wall of chalk and limestone, noted as one of the best locations in Devon for fossil collecting.

In 1790, a section of the cliffs slipped seawards, dropping by up to 250 feet, forming a jumbled, ten acre expense of gullies and pinnacles known as the Hooken Undercliffs. Most of the slide is now overgrown, home to a good variety of plants, in contrast to the open, grassy aspect of the surrounding cliff tops, and the whole area may be toured by a popular, two mile trail (a section of the Coast Path), which runs along the cliffs, down across the slide area then through low woodland close to the beach. A loop can be made by returning along another path more inland, over fields and grassy bluffs. The much less visited area directly beneath Beer Head, leading to the narrower beaches with the sea caves, can be reached by walking along the main beach in the other direction (east). A little climbing is necessary to see the best caves, and this off-trail section of the route is only accessible at low tide.