A large rock fall from the world famous White Cliffs of Dover has seen tonnes of chalk collapse into the sea off the southeastern coast of England.

The BBC reports that this winter's freezing conditions may have weakened the cliff face, causing last Friday's collapse.

The distinctive cliffs rise to 110m at their highest point and on a clear day can be seen from France, which sits just across the English Channel.

The area is managed by the UK's National Trust and has been immortalised in popular culture through the World War II song (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover.


A spokesperson for Dover Coastguard told the BBC it was fortunate the incident occurred at high tide, meaning there were no people walking below it.

"No one was injured but it does serve as a reminder that if people are walking along the cliff-top or underneath, that the cliff can crumble away."

It's not the first time a section of the cliffs has fallen.

The last substantial rock fall occurred in 2001, however there are regular smaller collapses - the most recent having taken place in January of this year.

Friday's rock fall took place in an area known locally as Crab Bay, midway between the town of Dover and the South Foreland Lighthouse.

A survey is due to be carried out to determine the full extent of the collapse.

Site of the cliff collapse