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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, 24 February 2018

Saturday walk - Berwick to Seaford - Over the South Downs, possibly with a moonlight walk

Length: 14km (8.7 miles) to Exceat, 20km (12.4 miles) to Seaford

Longer option: Over the Seven Sisters to East Dean: 21.4km (13.3 miles)

Catch the 9.46 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, changing there for the 11.09 to Berwick, arriving 11.20.

Buy a day return to Berwick (Sussex): this is usually accepted for return from Seaford. If you definitely plan to do the longer option, a day return to Eastbourne might be useful.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This is a grand walk over the South Downs, taking in the Long Man of Wilmington chalk figure and scenic High and Over Hill, with an optional extra finish over Seaford Head with magnificent backward views of the Seven Sisters.

Much of the walk is on chalk downland, which should be rather less muddy than the lowlands (though this does not apply to the first 2.8 miles of the walk and I am not saying it will NOT be muddy, just that it is LESS muddy....)

This is also (almost **) the last chance this winter for a moonlight walk (once the clocks go forward, it gets dark too late): this is obviously weather-dependent, but for more details see below.

There are lots of nice refreshment options on this walk. I find it hard to pass by the wonderful Giant's Rest in Wilmington, a lovely pub with magnificent food. But it is quite early in the walk (after 2.8 miles) and so you may care to carry on another 2.6 miles to Alfriston, which has both pubs and tea rooms. On the other hand, if you lunch in Wilmington, you can have tea in Alfriston....

The next staging post is the Cuckmere Inn in Exceat. Vegans might like to note it has a new menu, with a choice of vegan mains and puddings. You can end the walk here by taking very regular number 12 buses into Seaford, or carry on for another 3.7 miles over Seaford Head to Seaford. The Trawlers fish and chip shop here is recommended. The pub by the church is also nice.

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 past till 19.25, then 20.28, 21.28, 22.20. There are also trains at 57 past until 20.57 but note that due to reduced Southern services today these do not offer connections at Lewes to London. You have to change at Brighton instead (your ticket will be valid) and once you have done this you only get to London a few minutes before the next 25/28 past train.

The longer option - for which there are now full directions in the walk document/GPX (see paragraph 116 on page 10) - is to carry on over the Seven Sisters to East Dean. This is not much longer (21.4km/13.3 miles versus 20km/12.4km to Seaford) but a lot more strenuous. Very regular number 12 buses go from East Dean to both Seaford and Eastbourne, but to Eastbourne is quicker. Trains back from Eastbourne are hourly only today - at 35 past the hour until 21.35 and then 22.18.

The moonlight option - if skies are clear, those interested could delay their departure from the Cuckmere Inn until dusk (about 6pm) and then do the remaining section of the walk over Seaford Head in the moonlight. It is a bit more than a half moon today - so not the brightest, but bright enough to see by if the skies are clear. If I have my calculations correct it should be high in the southern sky, fairly near its zenith in fact, and so shining over the sea as we walk over Seaford Head. Cross fingers....

** Saturday 3 March will be one day after the full moon, when it will not rise at 7.39pm. But we may be able to think of a moonlight option to accommodate that.


1 comment:

Walker said...

N=18 on this walk on w=another-crisp-sunny-Saturday. Oh, the lovely blue of the sky! OK, a chilly breeze too but sometimes we were out of it and it even felt a teeny bit springlike. Some daffodils and even a patch of violets thought so too: let’s hope next week’s weather is not too much of a shock to them.

As usual on this walk Wilmington was where the group split. Many went on to Alfriston: seven of us headed to that old favourite, the Giant’s Rest. This, alas, turned out to be under new management. Alas, because the menu is less interesting than before (goodbye, African stew, my old friend) and even though we were practically the only diners when we arrived, the food still took nearly an hour to emerge from the kitchen - three grilled plaice, a liver and bacon, a veg curry and a bean chilli: the last two surely microwaved, the rest quick cook items. My veg curry was tasty but they could have counted the grains of rice individually (perhaps that is what took the time): the plaice was apparently unexciting.

On into the sunshine. A glorious climb over the shoulder of the downs, not as windy as I feared, the views thrillingly sharp. We bypassed Alfriston and cracked on along the river: the mud was fairly dry here: I think evaporation/dry winds are getting to work. Over High and Over Hill: grand views, though the wind stopped one from lingering too long over them.

At the Cuckmere Inn there was the usual faintly ungracious service but at least they now have vegan puddings (when prompted). One got a bus from here to get to London for an evening event, two cracked on to Seaford in the declining sunlight and four of us waited an hour and a half for it to get dark. We set off in the gloaming at 6pm, glad for the light of the afterglow on the sometimes slippery mud along the river. But by the time we got to Cuckmere Haven we were in proper moonlight: a pale, high half moon, enough to cast a shadow, not quite enough to illuminate the white cliffs. A nice easy walk from there over Seaford Head, my younger companions (and one older one) torturing me by pointing out stars and lighthouses my feeble eyes could not see. A glorious panorama of the lights of Seaford and Newhaven as we came over the top. Then fish and chips from the Trawlers which we ate on the 8.25pm train.