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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, 5 January 2019

Saturday Walk - The South Downs, Alfriston Village, Cuckmere Haven & Seven Sisters Views: Glynde to Seaford

Length:  22.9 km (14.2 mi) [or 16.3 km/10.1 mi to Exceat and a bus to Seaford or Eastbourne]
Ascent/Descent:  403/397m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 - 5 ½ hours (the last 20 mins or so are along the esplanade and roads in Seaford)
Toughness:  7 out of 10 
Take the 08.46 Ore train from Victoria (08.53 CJ, 09.03 EC), change Lewes (09.53/10.15 onto the Ore stopping service), arrives Glynde 10.21.
Return trains are on xx.25 and xx.53. 
Buy a Seaford return (this should be accepted for the Lewes to Glynde leg).
For the short walk to Exceat, the 09.46 train would be sufficient.

Everyone's favourite walk in Book 1 apparently, as per the webpage, but only rarely posted…
It starts with a South Downs Ridge  walk. Lunch is in the picturesque village of Alfriston. After lunch there is Cuckmere Haven (a pretty river valley), and a coastal cliff walk  into Seaford.
Near the start, the route goes through Firle Park and then follows the South Downs Way for much of the day, with marvellous views across the lush valleys to the north and down to the sea. There are three lovely villages to enjoy during the course of the day, all with open churches: West Firle, West Dean, and (the suggested lunch stop) the old smuggling village of Alfriston, which likes to call its church a cathedral. From Alfriston the route follows the riverbank through the Cuckmere Valley and through Friston Forest down to Exceat (pronounced Ex-Seat), an extinct village on the edge of the Seven Sisters Country Park, where there is a Visitors’ Centre and a tea room and a pub and a bus stop.
The Vanguard Way then leads through the Seaford Head Nature Reserve – hoopoe, bluethroat and wryneck have been seen here – to the beach at Cuckmere Haven. This is a good place to enjoy a front-stalls view of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters. You follow the coastal path to Seaford, a seaside town with a long esplanade and reconstructed shingle beach.

Lunch: The George Inn, The Star Inn, Ye Olde Smugglers Inn, Wingrove House, Chestnuts of Alfriston Tea Rooms in Alfriston (11.3 km/7.0 mi). Or The Plough & Harrow  in Litlington (13.4 km/8.5 mi, food to 17.00).
Tea: The Cuckmere Inn and The Saltmarsh Farmhouse in Exceat (16.3km/10.1 mi) plus plenty of options in Seaford, plus a café in Lewes Station when changing trains.
For walk directions, map, height profile, some photos, a video and gpx/kml files click here. T=1.31


Anonymous said...

Will take the later 09.46 train for the short walk option, and bus it from Exceat.

Anonymous said...

a few of us will join you with the late start
on 9:46am train

Thomas G said...

About 50-odd walkers got off the train at Lewes, most of them though were part of a Meetup-group heading for Southease, so as for the SWC: 12 off the train at Lewes, meeting 1 other who had taken a bus from Brighton, mostly fetching hot drinks from the on-platform cafe and awaiting the Glynde train. At Glynde we immediately cut out 5-10 mins of walking by following the road through the village and "braving" the A-road crossing, later had a look at West Firle church and were still all together once on top of the Downs. Plenty of hanggliders were doing what hanggliders do, the views were quite good, and the breeze cold but not too cold, all under w=grey-skies-all-day. It stayed dry and towards the end it even looked like there were some specks of blue-ish sky, but the sun was never seen.
We then caught up with an SWC stalwart, who had missed the train, taken the next one 30 mins later to Lewes and from there one of the Cuckmere Buses to West Firle, so n=14 on this variant of the walk.
Arriving at Alfriston early, at 12.30, the walk poster argued for pushing on to Litlington to try out the pub there, The Plough & Harrow, and a good decision it was: so they were fully booked, but the 4 lunchers found stools at the bar and after 45 minutes for food and coffee we were back out! Friendly staff, good food and beer and an efficient operation, all you can ask for really.
The sandwichers had marched on and called in for a coffee break at the cafe in Exceat, so we caught up with them again at Seaford Head. One last push up the Downs - and another small down and up - and finally Seaford was in sight.
Most pulled into The Old Plough, some into the (is it new?) station cafe and bar. 16.25 train.
No sign all day of anyone having taken a later train...

Frances said...

There were five on the 9.46, three of whom decided to start the walk from Southease which had an earlier connecting train. (The other two dematerialised en route to Lewes but later reported walking from Lewes to Saltdean) After lunch/tea in the Singing Kettle in Alfriston the Southease walkers met one even later starter who had walked from Glynde. All four walked to Exceat where the unremitting gloom of the day was relieved by light from the river and sea. One stopped to admire view. The other three jumped on a bus which arrived as they reached the road. Two caught the 17.25 from Seaford after a drink.

Anonymous said...

So total N=20, the two who did Lewes to Saltdean had lunch at The Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell. The pub was packed and we were offered seats by the bar and later moved to a table when became avaliable. Really friendly staff and food was gorgeous even for us gourmet diners, top marks - no wonder the pub was full. We caught bus from Saltdean to Brighton and 16:33 train back to London.

Karen said...

A special mention for the wonderful views of the Seven Sisters from the cliffs above Cuckmere. The sea was the most wonderful colour.