Fairlight, East Sussex

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Fairlight fire hills.jpg
The Fire Hills at Fairlight in 2000
Fairlight is located in East Sussex
Location within East Sussex
Area6.1 km2 (2.4 sq mi) [1]
Population1,670 (Parish-2011)[2]
• Density711/sq mi (275/km2)
OS grid referenceTQ866121
• London54 miles (87 km) NW
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtTN35
Dialling code01424
FireEast Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
East Sussex
50°53′N 0°39′E / 50.88°N 0.65°E / 50.88; 0.65Coordinates: 50°53′N 0°39′E / 50.88°N 0.65°E / 50.88; 0.65

Fairlight is a village in East Sussex, England within Rother district, three miles (5 km) to the east of Hastings. Fairlight is also the name of the civil parish forming part of the Rother district which includes the villages of Fairlight and Fairlight Cove. The village of Fairlight lies on a minor road between Ore, Pett and Winchelsea. St Andrew's Church (built 1845) has a tall tower and beacon turret, and can be seen for some distance around. The church is one of three in the United Benefice of Fairlight, Guestling and Pett. Richard D'Oyly Carte, founder of the Savoy Theatre, Savoy Hotel, and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which produced the Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, is buried in the churchyard. So also are Thomas Attwood Walmisley, and Sir James Roberts of Saltaire and his wife.[3]

Fairlight Cove, the neighbouring settlement and part of the parish, suffered from coastal erosion and landslip at Rockmead Road and Sea Road. A number of houses there are very close to the sea edge, and properties on those roads suffered through demolition and abandonment of a number of properties. The Fairlight Preservation Trust - a registered charity[4] was set up with a view to combating the loss by erosion and more generally to enhance and protect the village. Sea defences were built in the 90s at Sea Road and at Rockmead Road in 2007. The 2007 works are intended to be effective for 50 years from 2007, and are regularly monitored by Rother District Council and by the Trust.

Although the nearest railway station is Three Oaks, Hastings offers a much better service and can be reached by bus from Fairlight. Rye station is also accessible by bus from Fairlight.


Hastings Country Park[5] stretches from Hastings to Cliff End, where it gives access to the beach. This is a favoured spot for fossil-hunters; the "Hastings Beds" are part of the Early Cretaceous Wealden Group, aged 140–136 million years.[6] The park also gives access to the beach at Fairlight Glen.

The highest point in Hastings, now named North's Seat, is at the top of Fairlight Down in Hastings Country Park. It is named after Frederick North (MP) who represented the town. There used to be a windmill at this location, near which General William Roy erected a 32-foot temporary tower for vital cross-channel observations as part of the Anglo-French Survey (1784–1790), which used trigonometric measurements to link the Royal Greenwich Observatory with the Paris Observatory.

The country park is part of the larger Site of Special Scientific Interest called Hastings Cliffs to Pett Beach which extends into neighbouring parishes. The site is of both geological and biological interest.[7]


  1. ^ "East Sussex in Figures". East Sussex County Council. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  2. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  3. ^ Sir James Roberts and Saltaire
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Hastings Country Park Archived 2005-12-01 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hopson, P.M., Wilkinson, I.P. and Woods, M.A. (2010) A stratigraphical framework for the Lower Cretaceous of England. Research Report RR/08/03. British Geological Survey, Keyworth.
  7. ^ "Natural England - SSSI". English Nature. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2008.

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