Beach at Beer, Devon, with Beer Head behind.
Beer shown within Devon
|Population||1,381 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|Fire||Devon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||Tiverton and Honiton|
The village of Beer is situated on the 95-mile long Jurassic Coast, England's first natural World Heritage Site and its picturesque cliffs, including Beer Head, form part of the South West Coast Path.
It is a pretty coastal village that grew up around a smugglers' cove and caves which were once used to store contraband goods. These are now part of the attraction of the village. Many of the buildings are faced with flint, a hard glassy stone found in the local chalk rock.
Historically, the main sources of income for the village include fishing and lace production. Boats are winched up the beach as there is no harbour, and fresh fish is sold nearby. Nowadays small electrically driven winches using steel cables or tractors are located on the beach to haul boats in. Higher up is an old manual capstan operated by up to 20 men, now disused.
A brook winds its way in an open conduit alongside the main road down to the sea.
A WW2 pillbox is located close to the Western side of the beach exit, somewhat disguised by the stonework, one of the slits is visible in the photograph.
The shape of the coastline allowed local seafarers to operate in weather conditions when other towns could not, as it is protected from the prevailing westerly winds by Beer Head and the chalk cliffs which are the furthest outcrop of limestone on the SW coast.
Beer has a steep pebble beach. This makes walking on the beach difficult. Long rubber mats — actually recycled conveyor belts — are laid down to assist walkers.
Beer is home to a cave complex, the Beer Quarry Caves, resulting from the quarrying of Beer stone. This stone has been prized since Roman times, because of its workability for carving and for its gentle yellow colour on exposure to air. Beer stone was used in the construction of 24 cathedrals around the UK, including Exeter Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, and was also used in the building of Christchurch Cathedral, St.Louis. Missouri, USA. Bovey House, an Elizabethan manor house, is a mile inland.
Starre House, the oldest house in Beer is built using the local Beer stone that has been quarried since Roman times.
Bacteria taken from cliffs at Beer on the South Coast were launched to the International Space Station in 2008. The Beer microbes were placed on the European Space Agency's (Esa) Technology Exposure Facility and were sent up still sitting on, and in, small chunks of cliff rock from the Jurassic Coast. After 553-days they found that many were still alive. The survivors are now reproducing in a laboratory. This was part of an experiment to study the survival of microbes (which naturally live on the stone) in extreme conditions. A new species of cyanobacteria was isolated at the Open University that could be used in future space settlements on the moon and Mars to produce oxygen and break down rocks.
- William George Aston (1841–1911) died in Beer.
- Richard Gush (1789–1858) was born in Beer.
- Rowland Molony (born 1946) lives in Beer.
- Charles William Peach (1800–1886) lived in Beer.
- Andrew Coates lives in Beer.
- Jack Rattenbury was born in Beer.
The Jurassic Coast stretches over a distance of 155 kilometres (96 miles), from Orcombe Point near Exmouth, in the west, to near Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, in the east. The coastal exposures along the coastline provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earth's history. The localities along the Jurassic Coast includes a large range of important fossil zones.
- Amos, Jonathan. "Beer microbes live 553 days outside ISS (International Space Station)," BBC News. 23 August 2010.
- "Dorset and East Devon Coast". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2001. Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
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