347. Eastbourne to Seaford

I awoke early the following morning to find that fog and mist had descended overnight leaving visibility down to a 100 metres or so. I drove down country lanes to Seaford. The seaside resort would be the place where I finished today’s walk, which would be much shorter than yesterdays. I parked on the sea front, which had many free car parking spaces, as long as you stay for 12 hours or less. I walked the short distance into the town and had 2 minutes to wait for a bus, the #12, which operates a service every 12 minutes between Brighton and Eastbourne.

Unfortunately, on arriving in Eastbourne the fog had not lifted and neither would it for the rest of the walk. I made my way back to the sea front at Eastbourne and emerged onto the wide King Edwards Parade, a wide boulevard that rose upwards towards the higher ground of the South Downs.The residential part of Eastbourne ended quite abruptly at Bede’s Preparatory School and it was then a case of slogging up a steep hill. This also marked the start of the  the South Downs Way, a National Trail.

The impressive Eastbourne Town Hall
Looking up King Edweards Parade
Heading up the South Downland

It would have been nice to look back from the higher ground towards Eastbourne, but half way up the hill I was already surrounded by thick fog. The slope eased and I made good progress towards Beachy Head. I heard the odd car on a road to my right but could not see the road or car. Eventually I arrived at Beachy Head, again  could not see anything because of the fog. I did not linger but set off down the gentle grassy slopes towards Shooters Bottom. The road joined from the right again and I made the simple ascent up to and around the Lighthouse at Belle Tout, now a private residence. The fog was still all around me when I reached Birling Gap and with few people around I headed up and across the folded Chalk hills that formed The Seven Sisters. I did actually count them and it seemed they actually numbered eight!

The view back towards Eastbourne
At Beachy Head
As close as I dared to go near Beachy Head
Cliff fall near Belle Tout
The Belle Tout Lighthouse
Heading down to Birling Gap
Heading over the Seven Sisters

I dropped down out of the mist to Cuckmere Haven; here I needed to walk inland to cross the bridge of the River Cuckmere situated about a mile upstream. At sea level the fog was not so thick, but it still shrouded the higher Downland around me. The inland detour was almost 3 miles and all for the want of a short bridge across the Cuckmere. I followed the Cuckmere on a well defined levee to Exceat Bridge. Although very busy with road traffic, there was an separately attached footbridge. I set off back down the levee on the opposite side of the river arriving back at Cuckmere Haven.

I followed a well worn path across Seaford Head and soon dropped down to Hope Gap, this site gives access to the sea and the “Classic” view back to the Seven Sisters, but not today unfortunately as the fog was still down. I continued across the cliffs over Seaford Head, picking up the golf course and then dropping down to Seaford itself. I ended up on the sea front which was a huge shingle bank that disappeared into the distance. After passing a Martello Tower I was back at the car.

A short days walk and one, unfortunately, that offered very limited views of some of the most iconic natural scenary in England. However, I may return to this area some time in the future.

Vipers Bugloss
Descending from the South Downland to Cuckmere Haven
Heading inland along the River Cuckmere on a levee
The A259 crossing the Cuckmere over the Exceat Bridge
Back at Cuckmere Haven with the South Downland in the background
At Hope Gap, unfortunately the Seven Sisters remained in the fog
A Chalk promontory stripped of overlying soil and turf above Seaford
Heading down into Seaford
A Martello Tower now the Seaford Museum
Heading along the sea front at Seaford.

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance = 6,439 miles



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