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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

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, 18 March 2017

Saturday walk - Classic coast with a new inland finish

SWC walk 60c - Eastbourne Circular
Length: 18km (11.2 miles) - shorter option of 11.6km (7.2 miles): see ** below
Toughness: 5 out of 10: one big steep climb, a few little ones

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Eastbourne, arriving 11.08. (Hopefully this train will not be affected by RMT working-to-rule, but if it is cancelled for any reason, get the 10.17.)

Buy a day return to Eastbourne

For walk directions click here.

If you write it, will they come? The answer for the last part of this walk is not yet.

To explain: we all know the wonderful walk from Eastbourne over Beachy Head down to Birling Gap (If you do not, make its acquaintaince at once!). Traditionally this is linked with the "Full Monty" of the walk over the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head to Seaford (or vv). But some years back I wrote an alternative shorter ending inland to the lovely village of East Dean with its nice tea options.

This had a couple of winter outings, but people complained that 7.2 miles was too short and postulated a circular route back to Eastbourne. Walk directions for this - along a quiet downland valley, quite different from the busy coastal path, and then up over the crest of the ridge to descend with fine views of Eastbourne - have existed for two years or so, but have never, as far as I am aware, had a Saturday airing with the SWC. So this is their debut.

** You can of course, if you wish, finish in East Dean and get a bus to Eastbourne (the very frequent no 12) from there - the 11.6km (7.2 mile) option. Or if you want, you can carry on over the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap and maybe get the no 12 bus from Cuckmere Haven (in which case you might as well get it to Seaford and get a train from there). But I hope you will give the circular route a try. Go on. It is different.

Whatever option you take, the lunch choice is the busy but capacious Beachy Head pub, which seems to insist on table service if busy but allows bar ordering if not. Maybe at this time of year it will be less busy than in high summer. A while later is the National Trust tea room at Birling Gap. This is also a tea option, but you might want to wait till East Dean, which has the Hiker's Rest cafe (open till 5.30pm?) and the lovely Tiger Inn with its outside tables on the green.

Trains back from Eastbourne are at 35 and 55 past to 20.35 and then 21.35. After this there is engineering works and bus replacement services.



Anonymous said...

Anyone swimming?

Walker said...

N=12 on this walk, including one late starter who caught up with us at lunch. The weather was w=very-windy, though that does not tell the whole story. There was even some sun on the seafront in Eastbourne, raising hopes that the weather might be better than forecast. Cloud soon took over, but it was still not that unpleasant as we walked along the coast towards Beachy Head. The main irritation was some kind of endurance race in the opposite direction: do ALL these events have to be on the South Downs Way?

It was once up on Beachy Head the fun started. It was misty and there was a howling gale blowing from the west, straight into our faces. After a cosy lunch in the pub, we had to walk into this all the way to Birling Gap.

The mist did clear as we got lower, however, and there were reasonable views. The seas at Birling Gap were tremendous with two metre high waves. There was again a bit of brightness here, even sunshine. The tea room provided welcome shelter from the wind.

We then turned with relief inland (no talk of going over the Seven Sisters!) to East Dean, which was more sheltered. Two of us had a second tea at the deserted Hiker's Rest tea room.

Several then got the bus to Eastbourne. Five carried on up a sheltered valley and over the windy ridge one more time to Eastbourne. Four had Thai food in the lovely friendly restaurant in the old freight building. They remembered us from February, which shows what strange and unusual customers we must be.

We got the18.55 train home well pleased with our outing despite the weather. When I got home I noticed that for the first time this year my boots had no mud on them. Despite appearances to the contrary, spring is here!