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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.

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Bank Holiday Monday walk - Eastbourne to Seaford

Book 2 Walk 28 in reverse - Eastbourne to Seaford
Length: 22.3km (13.8 miles) - shorter options using buses
Toughness: 9 out of 10: hilly but nice views

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Eastbourne, arriving 11.08

The best seaside walk in the South East. Lots of hills but grand views throughout.

Walk directions: use SWC Walk 60 Eastbourne Circular which will get you as far as the start of the Seven Sisters: after that keep the sea to your left, veering inland after the last Sister to cross the Cuckmere River by the road bridge at Exceat. Take the river path on the far side of the bridge, then resume the coast walk into Seaford.

SWC 60 also provides possible shorter options, e.g. ending at East Dean or Exceat using the No 12 bus.

Lunch at the Beachy Head pub (may be busy!) or bring a picnic. Tea at Birling Gap, the Seaspray cafe at Exceat or the Cuckmere Inn at Exceat. Fish and chips at the Trawlers near Seaford station.

Swimming in the sea is possible at Eastbourne, Birling Gap, Cuckmere Haven and Seaford. High tide is at 4.16pm giving good depth for swimming at either Birling Gap or Cuckmere Haven from around 2pm to 6.30pm. You can swim at Seaford at any state of the tide. In Eastbourne you would need to swim before you pass the Wish Tower: after this there are underwater rocks at low to mid states of the tide. Big waves (1 metre plus) can make entering and exiting the sea tricky at all these beaches, apart (possibly) from Eastbourne. Always use your own judgement before swimming.

Trains back are at 25/28 and 57 past, changing at Lewes, except on the 20.57 when you change at Brighton (takes 20 mins longer so is hardly worth it). Last trains 21.28 and 22.20. T=2.28


Anonymous said...

Has someone taken off the cheap train offers to seaside?!!!

delia's barmy army said...

There has been a suspected chemical leak in the area with people complaining of sore throats and eyes. Probably best to avoid until further notice.

Chris L said...

If, on arrival at Eastbourne, local advice is still to avoid the coast, it may be worth having an alternative inland walk in reserve - e.g. Berwick to Eastbourne in reverse, or Eastbourne to Southease along the SDW, or a walk sround Friston Forest.

Walker said...

Oh, what a day this was. 7 got the specified train, one (me) the train an hour earlier: so n=8 in all. Both trains were busy but not tragically so. The mysterious chemical cloud that afflicted Birling Gap on Sunday afternoon had this huge silver lining - that the vast hordes that would doubtless have otherwise descended on this part of the coast did not materialise. Beachy Head, Birling Gap, The Seven Sisters, Cuckmere Haven were all well populated but not at all heaving. It was almost miraculous.

It was w=blazing-hot, somewhat hazy, making the white cliffs look rather ethereal at times. Hardly ever have I known such a windless day on the coast. This made it sticky at times but that made the swims all the more delicious.

Catching the earlier train I started with a sparkling low tide swim at Eastbourne. One walker on the specified train disappeared almost at once, apparently: we do not know why. The rest caught up with me on the climb to Beachy Head.

We avoided the pub and instead headed straight to Birling Gap for a dip. All of us swam, some far out into the bay. The water was unusually clear, lacking its usual milky chalk sediment. Jokingly I suggested the acid chemical cloud had dissolved it all.

Afterwards in the cafe we found that the previous day's events had left them short-staffed. So the five who had not brought a picnic had to make do with cakes for lunch. On over the Seven Sisters, which seemed huge in the heat. Down to Cuckmere Haven which at 4pm was only lightly scattered with people. Again we all swam, a glorious swim in golden sun, again some of us going far out into the bay to get the best cliff views. You haven't lived if you have not seen the Seven Sisters from 200 metres out from the shore at Cuckmere Haven.

We walked up the river to the Cuckmere Inn, had a drink, walked back down the other side. It was now nearly 7pm and the light was mouthwatering, the Seven Sisters bathed in soft gold. A dreamy walk over Seaford Head got us to Seaford beach in time to see the sun on its last descent. Only one way to enjoy this - in the water: a golden ball declining, turning the glassy/smooth ripples on the sea pink and gold. One of the loveliest swims I have ever had.

Three took the train home after this. Since Trawlers fish and chip shop had closed at 8pm, the four of us remaining ate in the pub, where the food would certainly not win any prizes. Wearily to the 9.20 train, which was empty, and a reasonably quiet connection to London. I got back to Victoria 14 hours after I had set out, having done the grand slam of swims - Eastbourne, Birling Gap, Cuckmere Haven, Seaford. Now that is what I call a day out.

Poppy said...

A very comprehensive report. The cliffs were grand and the sea still. I have never walked on this coastline with so little wind. I had deliberately delayed repeating this walk for several years in order to appreciate it more and was not disappointed. The dusky walk along the Cuckmere river was a particular delight, lovely, mellow and a little misty by that time. It is a wonderful place to listen to the water birds (not the cackle of seagulls but the unpredictable whistles of various estuary and wading birds, including, apparently, a whimbrel) We also enjoyed watching the fishing antics of a little egret. No regrets!