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This Week's Walks - Archive

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This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Saturday Second Walk -- Walk 2.28 (in reverse)/SWC Walk 60: Eastbourne to Seaford

Book 2 Walk 28 (in reverse)/Extra Walk 60 (extended option):  Eastbourne to Seaford – Classic Cliff Walk Along the Seven Sisters with Swimming Opportunities

Distance:  13.8 Miles (22.3 km), with various options to shorten via bus or making a circular walk

Difficulty:  9 out of 10 for the main walk

Train:  Take the 9:17 Eastbourne train from London Victoria (9:23 Clapham and 9:33 East Croydon), arriving at Eastbourne at 10:46.  Return trains from Seaford to Victoria are at 25 (becoming 28 at 20:28) and 57 past the hour until 21:28. If shortening the walk with one of the options you will need to take one of the frequent buses onto Seaford or back to Eastbourne.   Buy a day return to Eastbourne. 
It is with some trepidation that I post this classic summer walk given the current state of affairs of the BOTH the English summer AND Southern trains – but, in the end, decided that I would not let these details stand in the way of one of the best coastal walks in the Southeast with ample swimming opportunities against the backdrop of stunning chalk cliffs.  High tide in the area is around 3:30 pm – so should be at a good level for swims at both Birling Gap and Cuckmere Haven (assuming all the other necessary stars align for a suitable swimming experience).  I have posted a slightly earlier train than I would normally to provide some protection against a train cancellation, as the next train at 9:47 would also be a suitable start time.
The walk is basically the Book 2 Walk 28 walk in reverse; but, the instructions from SWC Walk 60 can be used from Eastbourne as far as Exceat from where the walk can be shorten by taking a bus onto Seaford.  Also, the walk can be shortened by going as far as Birling Gap or East Dean and taking a bus back to Eastbourne or by making a circular walk back to Eastbourne from East Dean (these options are all described in instructions for SWC Walk 60).  The walk instructions and further information can be found here for Book 2:28 and here for SWC Walk 60.
The recommended lunchtime pub is the Beachy Head Pub on Beachy Head, about 3 miles into the walk.  Tea can also be had at the Cuckmere Inn in Exceat (roughly 10 miles into the walk).  For those going all the way to Seaford, Trawlers is a good fish and chip stop.

Enjoy the walk!


PeteB said...

Excellent idea to reverse this walk; in my opinion the views are much better doing the 7 sisters this way. Seaford has improved over the years and is now a better place to end a walk. As an "oldie" I often catch the bus to Brighton from just beyond Seaford station where there are loads of "refreshment" opportunities and more trains back to London.

Walker said...

This could also be your last chance to take a train from Seaford for a while as Southern seem to be scrapping Seaford trains and replacing them with buses as part of their emergency timetable to cope with the effects of the "sickie strike", a timetable which takes effect on Monday next.

Walker said...

Amendment to last comment. There will be (almost ) no trains to Seaford Monday to Friday: weekend trains will presumably run as normal

Anonymous said...

OK, just to be on a safe side: do Seaford station staff accept Eastbourne tickets?

Walker said...

I have never had a problem with this. There are never any barriers at Seaford anyway. Any station staff there are will be so relieved that trains are actually running on the line that they won't have time to be picky about tickets. Plus Southern seem relaxed about this kind of thing anyway. If you get any grief, launch into a prolonged rant about all the delayed journeys you have had due to the "sickie strike", how you were late to work eight times in the last two weeks, how you didn't get home till midnight, etc etc etc. Or discourse on the fact that Southern have essentially scrapped rail service to Seaford Monday to Friday in their emergency timetable. They are in no position to be high and mighty with the travelling public on any topic.

Anonymous said...

A big thanks to Stargazer for posting this classic and to Walker introducing us all to an alternative way to Beachy Head!
I hope the swimmers found a good spot for a dip and everyone enjoyed the fine views.
The Belle Tout Lighthouse reminded me of the Beebs adaptation of "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil" set at this lovely location with a very young Dennis Waterman and Patricia Hodge back in 1983.
I was tempted to loiter in Seaford but the 5:25 train was on the platform and it was going in five minutes ...
A nice lady guard asked to see my ticket on this train. I told her I'd walked from Eastbourne and was travelling back via Lewes
"Good enough" she said. (I wasn't sure if she was commenting on the ticket or the walk though.)

Walker said...

N=18 on this walk, two of them late starters who caught us at lunch. No problem with the trains either out or back. (The guard on our return journey to London said he was feeling "very well"). The weather was w=windy-but-reasonably-fine. Sometimes it was sunny-ish and sometimes it was grey-ish and in the early part of the walk one sometimes had to shout to make oneself heard against the gale but at other times it was not windy. Average summer weather, in other words.

We split early into two factions, one going on to lunch at Birling Gap, the other stopping at the Beachy Head pub. The latter has dropped its tedious insistence on making one order at the table and consequently food service was quick (though perhaps arriving early helped too). On the walk down to Birling Gap it looked as if a flash mob of European and Japanese youth had formed in response to some trending tweet - certainly I have never seen it so busy. Many were sat nonchalantly right on the cliff edge and one Italian guy, who I am guessing is not long for this world, had his legs dangling over the edge. Well, I suppose it is nice to see the young out enjoying our lovely scenery.

Four of us swam at Birling Gap where the water was a decent 16 degrees and the sun sort-of shone for part of the time we were in. Metre high waves made things a little exciting. The Seven Sisters were their usual lovely self and not busy until Haven Brow, which was like Glastonbury. Six of us spent some time on the beach at Cuckmere Haven where three of us had another long swim. I understand four of the advance group also swam here. We six then had drinks at the Cuckmere Inn and a lovely sunset walk on to Seaford, arriving in time for the inevitable bettered cod and fried potatoes from the Trawlers which we ate on the 21.28, washed down by two bottles of wine.

Walker said...

.....battered cod.... (perhaps bettered too, but that is a matter of culinary opinion, I suppose)