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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, 30 June 2018

Saturday walk - Southease to Exceat via Seaford - the Downs and a dip in the sea

Length: 18.5km (11.5 miles) - or 12.3km (7.6 miles) if you only do the morning 
Toughness: 6 out of 10: a couple of steep hill climbs

9.46 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.53, changing there - be quick! - for the 10.59 to Southease, arriving 11.06.

Buy a day return to Seaford. (Note: if the forecast is hot and sunny, Victoria station might be very busy: ideally buy your ticket in advance or at another station.)

I have been meaning to try this idea for a walk for some time. The idea is to do the shorter version (option a) of the Southease to Seaford walk (ie omitting the loop to Rodmell) in the morning, getting to Seaford for lunch after 7.6 miles. There is then the possibility of a sea swim on Seaford’s beach, before carrying on in the afternoon (optional - you could simply spend the afternoon on the beach) over Seaford Head to Cuckmere Haven (where another swim might be possible), and then on to Exceat for tea and a very regular (every ten minutes or so) number 12 bus back to Seaford. Seaford to Exceat is 6.2km (3.9 miles).

Directions for the morning part of the walk are here. GPX files are here. For the afternoon directions are not really necessary: follow the cliff path to Cuckmere Haven, then follow the riverbank inland to Exceat. But if you want directions, see paragraph 135 on page 12 of this document (you only need page 12). For GPX click here.

There are various lunch options in Seaford, including the Trawlers fish and chip shop by the station and the nearby Plough Inn near the church. Tea at Exceat is at the Cuckmere Inn or the Saltmarsh tea room (cross the road bridge and follow the road for 400 metres to the Seven Sisters Visitor Centre complex).

The number 12 bus runs to Seaford (taking 15 minutes or so) every ten minutes (until 7pm or so: half hourly after that) from both the Cuckmere Inn and Seven Sister Visitor Centre.

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 and 53 past the hour till late. (Note that all these trains now offer London connections via Lewes: there are no longer two evening trains where you have to connect via Brighton). T=2.26


Walker said...

There was an hour’s delay on the train down due to points problems in Purley, but n=17 hardy souls still got to Southease a little after midday. We set off and soon stretched out - or I soon ended up at the back, so I have no idea what happened to most of the group. It was of course w=hot-and-sunny (is there any other kind of weather? I have quite forgotten) and the downs were showing some effects of drought, though they were still quite flowery. No shade of any kind, but fine views.

I gather some got a bit lost around Bishopstone village. The few I was with did so deliberately, staying on the ridge rather than descending to the church, which proved a perfectly good route to the coast.

Once on the beach, three of us swam. Delightfully refreshing, still a tad cold perhaps but bearable for a good length of time. The beach was busy but not tragically so. A child kept delightedly reporting that he had found “a huge jellyfish” but we saw none. We had a sunbathe and another swim.

We went to one of the “other” (ie non-Plough) pubs - the Boot? - for an al fresco lunch in delightful shade. The food here was nicer than its rather “locals” appearance suggested and the portions huge. It was about 5pm by the time we set off to walk over Seaford Head (having first checked out the kittiwake colony on the cliffs at the end of the beach) to Cuckmere Haven and up to Exceat, but this is the time when the light is just perfect for this walk. At Exceat we caught a bus straight into Seaford.

On the 7.53pm train home all went perfectly - the morning’s delays seemed to have cleared. The four carriage train from Eastbourne was full but decamping to the Worthing half which we joined at Hayward’s Heath proved an inspired move as this was almost empty. We enjoyed two bottles of Prosecco (between four) on the train as the sun set, a very nice end to the day.

MG said...

3 people having taken an earlier train from London were able to start the walk at the planned time. Outside the Bishopstone church with its benches 2 had a picnic at this ideal spot but I'm not sure what they did then - on to Cuckmere Haven and then walking back to Seaford? I continued on to Seaford, enjoying lunch at the Salts Café and then to Seaford. This walk is a great idea but the morning stretch is long for a walk start after 11 so although an 8.46 train would be too early for many, it could work better for this walk.