Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Coastal walk via Eastbourne's promenade, Beachy Head and the 7 Sisters, then inland over the downs to East Dean. Return by bus.

Looking back to Birling Gap Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Looking back to Birling Gap

Eastbourne to East Dean walk

23-Jun-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Birling Gap Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Birling Gap

Eastbourne to East Dean walk

23-Jun-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Leaving the sea behind Just beyond Birling Gap, Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Leaving the sea behind

Just beyond Birling Gap, Eastbourne to East Dean walk

23-Jun-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Belle Tout, Beachy Head and sheep Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Belle Tout, Beachy Head and sheep

Eastbourne to East Dean walk

23-Jun-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Goodbye to the sea Eastbourne to East Dean walk

Goodbye to the sea

Eastbourne to East Dean walk

23-Jun-15 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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04-Jul-10 • Sarah Heenan on Flickr

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Eastbourne Welcome

Eastbourne Welcome

04-Jul-10 • Sarah Heenan on Flickr

book3 swcwalks july4th2010eastbournetoeastdean walk60 4761228789


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Sat, 22-Jan-22

Date # Post
Sat, 18-Mar-17 12

Saturday walk - Classic coast with a new inland finish

SWC walk 60c - Eastbourne Circular
Length: 18km (11.2 miles) - shorter option of 11.6km (7.2 miles): see ** below
Toughness: 5 out of 10: one big steep climb, a few little ones

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Eastbourne, arriving 11.08. (Hopefully this train will not be affected by RMT working-to-rule, but if it is cancelled for any reason, get the 10.17.)

Buy a day return to Eastbourne

For walk directions click here.

If you write it, will they come? The answer for the last part of this walk is not yet.

To explain: we all know the wonderful walk from Eastbourne over Beachy Head down to Birling Gap (If you do not, make its acquaintaince at once!). Traditionally this is linked with the "Full Monty" of the walk over the Seven Sisters and Seaford Head to Seaford (or vv). But some years back I wrote an alternative shorter ending inland to the lovely village of East Dean with its nice tea options.

This had a couple of winter outings, but people complained that 7.2 miles was too short and postulated a circular route back to Eastbourne. Walk directions for this - along a quiet downland valley, quite different from the busy coastal path, and then up over the crest of the ridge to descend with fine views of Eastbourne - have existed for two years or so, but have never, as far as I am aware, had a Saturday airing with the SWC. So this is their debut.

** You can of course, if you wish, finish in East Dean and get a bus to Eastbourne (the very frequent no 12) from there - the 11.6km (7.2 mile) option. Or if you want, you can carry on over the Seven Sisters from Birling Gap and maybe get the no 12 bus from Cuckmere Haven (in which case you might as well get it to Seaford and get a train from there). But I hope you will give the circular route a try. Go on. It is different.

Whatever option you take, the lunch choice is the busy but capacious Beachy Head pub, which seems to insist on table service if busy but allows bar ordering if not. Maybe at this time of year it will be less busy than in high summer. A while later is the National Trust tea room at Birling Gap. This is also a tea option, but you might want to wait till East Dean, which has the Hiker's Rest cafe (open till 5.30pm?) and the lovely Tiger Inn with its outside tables on the green.

Trains back from Eastbourne are at 35 and 55 past to 20.35 and then 21.35. After this there is engineering works and bus replacement services.


Anyone swimming?
12 on this walk, including one late starter who caught up with us at lunch. The weather was very windy, though that does not tell the whole story. There was even some sun on the seafront in Eastbourne, raising hopes that the weather might be better than forecast. Cloud soon took over, but it was still not that unpleasant as we walked along the coast towards Beachy Head. The main irritation was some kind of endurance race in the opposite direction: do ALL these events have to be on the South Downs Way?

It was once up on Beachy Head the fun started. It was misty and there was a howling gale blowing from the west, straight into our faces. After a cosy lunch in the pub, we had to walk into this all the way to Birling Gap.

The mist did clear as we got lower, however, and there were reasonable views. The seas at Birling Gap were tremendous with two metre high waves. There was again a bit of brightness here, even sunshine. The tea room provided welcome shelter from the wind.

We then turned with relief inland (no talk of going over the Seven Sisters!) to East Dean, which was more sheltered. Two of us had a second tea at the deserted Hiker's Rest tea room.

Several then got the bus to Eastbourne. Five carried on up a sheltered valley and over the windy ridge one more time to Eastbourne. Four had Thai food in the lovely friendly restaurant in the old freight building. They remembered us from February, which shows what strange and unusual customers we must be.

We got the18.55 train home well pleased with our outing despite the weather. When I got home I noticed that for the first time this year my boots had no mud on them. Despite appearances to the contrary, spring is here!
Sun, 28-Feb-16 8

The Seaside and the South Downs

Book 3 Walk 60c Eastbourne Circular
Length 18km (11.2m) ;toughness 6/10.
Trains 09.47 London Victoria (Clapham Junction 09.53, East Croydon 10.08) Eastbourne 11.13.
Return trains from Eastbourne to London Victoria at xx:59
This particular walk variation does not appear to have had an outing for almost 6 years so lets dust it off and give it a go.
This is quite a vigorous walk with a steep climb near the start but you can cut it short at East Dean and catch a bus back to Eastbourne if the weather is inclement or you have just had enough. The last part of the walk is through Eastbourne’s streets but this is not unpleasant.

Further information about the walk and its options and the lunch and refreshment opportunities can be found here with the pdf detailed walk instructions here
Anyone doing the Eastbourne walk on Sunday ?
I am planning to do the Eastbourne walk tomorrow.
Thanks to Thomas and David for this fine walk.
Hi, we're new to the club and we're planning to join this walk:)
Note that to do the Circular walk, you have to switch to the directions on the LAST PAGE when you get to the paragraph 25 of the main walk directions (something that is not made very obvious in the walk directions pdf)
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
8 on this walk with the weather sunny intervals but blustery and cold. AA fairly vigorous workout with the steep hill near the start made even tougher by having a stiff wind in our faces. Good lunch at Beachy Head and with the Downs looking superb in the winter sun we set off for Birling Gap and thence to East Dean where we all decided to go on to Eastbourne along an attractive track I have not walked before. Got to Eastbourne in time to catch 3.59 train. Excellent day out and I hope our 2 Czech newcomers enjoyed their first SWC outing and are inspired to do other walks.

Sun, 12-Jul-15 3

Sunday Second Walk - Sussex coast and sea

Extra Walk 60 – Eastbourne to East Dean
Length: 11.6km (7.2 miles) (with longer options) Toughness: 5/10

09:47 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 09:54; East Croydon 10:03) arriving at Eastbourne at 11:12.

Return trains are at xx.26 (journey 1hr 39mins) and xx:59 (1hr 27mins)

In contrast to today’s other walk, this is the one for those who like a) short walks; b) coastal walks; c) swimming walks; or d) a challenging climb. After heading west along Eastbourne’s seafront, the route follows the lower clifftop path before going steeply uphill to the Beachy Head pub for lunch. Then it’s on to Birling Gap and inland to East Dean for more refreshments at the Tiger’s Head or the Hiker’s Rest and frequent buses back to Eastbourne.

Those who’d like to stretch their legs a little more could carry on from Birling Gap along the coast over the Seven Sisters to Exceat to catch the bus back (total 9.4 miles). Or turn off at Flagstaff Point (after the third Sister) to go inland to East Dean (total 8.3 miles). Or carry on from East Dean over the downs and back to Eastbourne, making a circular walk of 11.2 miles. So there’s plenty of choice in ways to finish the walk, as the mood takes you. All of them are described in the Walk Directions

Those who fancy a swim might find it easiest to do this before leaving Eastbourne, when the tide will be halfway out, or on returning there (tide halfway in). Trying to negotiate the rocks for a swim at Birling Gap at low tide could be tricky.
The Eastbourne Circular option for this walk back through the downs from East Dean to Eastbourne now has full directions, which were added at this time last year, but have never had an SWC outing. This makes a walk of 18km/11.2 miles.
An excellent shortish route, but cool and wet weather meant that swimming in an uninviting sea wasn't an option for the 3 walkers (Anna, Emma & Nick). It would be great to extend the walk beyond Birling Gap on a warmer and sunnier day.
3 cool and wet
Sun, 25-Aug-13 15 Eastbourne to East Dean
Sat, 05-Jan-13 12 Eastbourne to East Dean
Sun, 13-Dec-09 Eastbourne to East Dean
Sun, 12-Apr-09 Eastbourne Circular
Sat, 03-Jan-09 Eastbourne to East Dean