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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, 27 July 2019

Saturday Walk - Southease to Exceat - Downs and a Dip

Length: 18.6km (11.5 miles) or 12.3km (7.6 miles) T=2.26
Toughness: 6 out of 10

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

Buy a day return to Seaford (Sussex)

For the morning: Directions, GPX, map

The idea of this walk is to do the shorter version of Book 2 Walk 26 Southease to Seaford - ie, omitting the river loop to Rodmell - as a 7.6 mile morning walk across the downs to the sea, arriving at Seaford for what my German friend Christoph used to call a “sea-bath” (swim), weather conditions permitting. Seaford has oodles of lunch options, including the Old Plough pub by the church, which serves food all afternoon. Also the favourite SWC fish and chip shop, Trawlers.

Those that wish could, of course, terminate the walk here. Otherwise an afternoon walk over Seaford Head and up the Cuckmere River to Exceat (3.9 miles) is highly recommended: possibly the most beautiful four miles in England. Directions/GPX are not really necessary for this: follow the seafront and then the cliff top path to Cuckmere Haven, and then turn left up the Cuckmere River to the road bridge. If you need more details see the start of the Seaford to Eastbourne walk. After 4.30pm or so there should be enough water depth for a second swim at Cuckmere Haven (high tide is at 7.30pm)

Tea at Exceat is possible either at the Cuckmere Inn or - by turning right over Exceat Bridge and walking 400 metres up the road - at the Saltmarsh Cafe, open to 5pm, in the Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre complex.

From both the Cuckmere and the main road outside the Saltmarsh buses number 12/12a/13X go every ten to fifteen minutes (every half hour after 7pm or so) to Seaford, taking 10–15 minutes.

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 and 53 past till 22.53, connecting for London at Lewes. (There are no longer any evening trains where it is better to connect at Brighton). 

4 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi. I really would like to go, but I feel uncomfortable traveling alone on train. Someone join me?)

Anonymous said...

I'm planning to get on the train at Clapham Junction. Judith

David Colve said...

Thinking of doing this tomorrow, Sunday, if anyone else is interested, as it looks like being less rainy.

Walker said...

N=15 on this walk, a heroic total given the dismal weather forecast. But in fact there were just w=spits-and-spots-of-rain on an otherwise cloudy and mild walk. A disappointment after the sunshine earlier in the week, but not a disaster.

We finished the walk over the downs by about 1.30pm. In Seaford it was grey and a bit drizzly but eight nevertheless went for a swim. The sea looked only mildly wavy but was in fact had quite large breakers near the shore, which unsettled some and tipped at least one swimmer over. Getting dry and dressed in a (brief) spell of light rain was a novelty.

One person headed off to walk on to Exceat directly after the swim. Seven of us were led deep deep into the backstreets of Seaford to a cafe called The Front Room, which did nice potato hashes. Some others went to the Salt Cafe and set off for the afternoon earlier than us. One or two finished at Seaford.

After the lovely walk over Seaford Head all of the party I was with would have sailed on past Cuckmere Haven without a swim, but I figured you don’t get that many chances each year for a dip in this spot and went in regardless, prompting five others to join me. There was brightness to the south now and the sea had a lovely soft glow in this direction. The water was peaceful, in complete contrast to earlier.

The Cuckmere River, you might be interested to hear, is now flowing feebly into the sea, but a great weedy lagoon is still trapped behind an old groyne. There was a lovely purple patch of sea lavender. The path along the river was surprisingly muddy - an unwelcome premonition of winter.

The Cuckmere Inn was its usual unfriendly self. Robots would be more welcoming and accommodating than the staff at this establishment, who refused to serve food outside even though they were nearly empty inside but were prepared to come out into the terrace to tell you that your food was inside and then did not stop you carrying it outside. I decided to reward this behaviour by taking my meal dollar elsewhere, but felt sorry for the very enthusiastic and endearing sparrow flock who are thus deprived of sustenance.

Leaving the pub there was the brief shock of discovering the bus stop closed due to roadworks. Luckily the nearest one, at the Seven Sisters Visitor Centre, was only 400 metres away. We caught the 7.09 bus and - amazingly - the 7.25 train.