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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.

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Saturday walk - Berwick to Birling Gap - to coincide with the Jevington Fete

Length: 15.2km (9.4 miles) to 21.3km (13.2 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.16 train from Victoria (9.23 Clapham Junction, 9.33 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.25, changing there for the 10.47 train to Berwick, arriving 10.56.

Buy a day return to Eastbourne, though it is possible to return from Seaford from which a Berwick (Sussex) return would usually be accepted

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. T=3.129

I am picking this walk in response to a request for something to coincide with the Jevington Village Fete, a village passed 6.1 miles into this walk. Even if you are not interested in that, this is a fine walk for this time of year, starting on the flat, passing through the pretty village of Wilmington, whose churchyard has an extremely ancient yew, and then up past the chalk cut figure of the Long Man of Wilmington. After this you walk over the South Downs to Jevington.

An early lunch is possible at the Giant's Rest in Wilmington, though it has to be said that this favourite SWC pub was under new management last time we visited and disappointed us considerably compared to former days. Whether the Eight Bells in Jevington will be busier than usual due to the fete, I do not know, but presumably the fete itself will have some food options.

After Jevington the walk climbs up onto the downs again and then follows a level route to Friston, 9.4 miles into the walk, from where you can take very regular (every ten minutes or so) number 12 buses to Eastbourne (slightly nearer) or Seaford. If you want a tea stop, it is a very short walk down the hill to East Dean, which has both the Hiker's Rest cafe and the popular Tiger Inn.

Alternatively you can extend the walk down onto the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Here there are two options, both making walks of 21km (13 miles), ie just under four miles further on from Friston:

- You can walk to Birling Gap, but we are sadly just one week too early for the (in any case very limited) summer bus service, so if you do this you will then need to walk back up to East Dean to get a number 12 bus to Eastbourne or Seaford.

- Or you can turn right along the Seven Sisters (walking over half of them) and end up at Exceat, also getting the number 12 bus to Seaford.

- SEA SWIMMING: We are getting to that time of year when a dip in the sea becomes possible (albeit that the water is still rather chilly), but tides at Birling Gap are a bit awkward today, with low tide at 8pm. These means concealed underwater rocks could make it tricky to swim. Eastbourne (near the pier) or Seaford can be swum at any state of the tide, however, and the east side of Cuckmere Haven (on the Exceat ending) can usually be swum after picking one's way across stones a bit...

Trains back from Eastbourne are at 00 and 25 past until 22.00 (ie trains are now half hourly all evening, whereas before they were hourly after 7pm).

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 and 53 past until 21.53, changing at Lewes (once again, the requirement to change at Brighton on two of the evening trains has now gone and all trains now have Lewes connections).


Anonymous said...

The early part of this walk was quite overgrown a few weeks ago. You may want to wear long trousers.

Walker said...

N=29 on this walk: 27 at the start and two late starters who drove to Jevington and then walked with us in the afternoon before walking back to their car. The weather.... Well, there was some dispute about this in the train home. One view was that it was mostly sunny and only cloudy at the end. But that is not what I saw. As far as I am concerned we had some sun at the start and it was then w=largely-cloudy-and-quite-windy: this was definitely the case after Wilmington. In two months’ time I would have said “a bit autumnal”.

Notwithstanding, this was a grand walk. The amazing yew in Wilmington churchyard was as awe-inspiring as ever and up on the downs there were hundreds of common spotted orchids (and good flowers in general). The Jevington fete was...nice, but a fairly ordinary village event. A nice tea tent. A big queue for the burgers. “Ferret roulette” (bet on which hole the hapless critter will energe from). Most of us soon went on to the Eight Bells, eschewing the “funny dog show”, whatever that was.

It is the first time (that I remember, at least) that I have eaten at the Eight Bells. Walker-friendly. An efficient bar. A good varied menu. But hit and miss dishes. The fish pie won high praise, the swordfish was drowned in a questionable sauce and was soggy from defrosting. My “mushroom tagliatelle” was a thick cream and cheese soup (enough cholesterol to clog a main sewer) with a couple of sliced mushrooms and some pasta swimming in it. I felt queasy all afternoon.

The fete (or perhaps just fate) inevitably split the group up. I presume all walked on to Friston and some to East Dean but only know for definite that five of us went on to the Seven Sisters, then on to Birling Gap and up to East Dean. It was grand to see the sea and the cliffs and think of swims to come, but today was not the day for it. We repaired to the cosy interior of the Tiger Inn instead.

sylvia said...

More info about who walked where: three of us walked to Birling Gap and then followed the coast path into Eastbourne, and two of the three caught the 7.25pm train, chips in hand! At least two people were ahead of us and caught the 6.25pm train. One walker went to Birling Gap and then turned the other way, to Exceat, saying she'd get the bus from there. It was a great walk and the wildflowers were a delight, especially the very red poppies, the pink orchids, and the little downland flowers which make a carpet of purple and yellow.

MG said...

A small clarification: this walker turned right for Exceat at Flagstaff Point not Birling Gap. As views about 8 Bells seem to be mixed it may be worth noting that I was quite happy with an (admittedly undemanding) lunch at the Giant's Rest.