Glynde to Seaford walk

The best walk in the book! A South Downs ridge, picture postcard Alfriston, Cuckmere Haven (beach), and cliffs with views of the Seven Sisters. Long but worth it.

Cliff Edge - is he a mate of Marty Wilde and Billy Fury? View of Seven Sisters from the west. David A. Vivitar 5199

Cliff Edge - is he a mate of Marty Wilde and Billy Fury?

View of Seven Sisters from the west. David A. Vivitar 5199

01-Aug-07 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk31 walkicon 1468571329

The Cuckmere Glynde to Seaford

The Cuckmere

Glynde to Seaford

03-Aug-07 • moontiger on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk31 walkicon 1014727899



22-Aug-09 • Sarah Heenan on Flickr

book1 walkicon swcwalks walk31 glyndetoseaford 4518632806



22-Aug-09 • Sarah Heenan on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk31 glyndetoseaford walkicon 4518035425

Into the sun Glynde to Seaford

Into the sun

Glynde to Seaford

29-Aug-09 • moontiger on Flickr

book1 walkicon swcwalks walk31 3872170018

The South Downs near Firle

The South Downs near Firle

30-Dec-12 • JonCombe on Flickr

book1 eastsussex walkicon swcwalks walk31 8370552207

The Seven Sisters cliffs at Cuckmere Haven

The Seven Sisters cliffs at Cuckmere Haven

30-Dec-12 • JonCombe on Flickr

sussex book1 walkicon swcwalks walk31 8390759614


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: Mon, 17-Jan-22

Date # Post
Sat, 31-Jul-21 21

Saturday walk Glynde to Seaford - the South Downs, Alfriston, Friston Forest, Exceat, Cuckmere Haven (for a swim) then along the clifftops and down to Seaford

Book 1, Walk 31 - Glynde to Seaford

Length: 23 km (14.3 miles) Options to drop out early
Toughness: 8 out of 10 Several steady ascents
London Victoria: 08-54 hrs Southern service to Oare CJ 09-01 hrs EC 09-10 hrs
Arrive Lewes: 09-56 hrs Change trains
Leave Lewes: 10-15 hrs Southern stopping service from Brighton to Oare
Arrive Glynde: 10-21 hrs
Return: Seaford to Victoria, changing at Lewes: 25 and 53 mins past the hour
Rail ticket: buy a day return to Seaford
My apologies for the early start, but the later trains do not work for this walk today.
This walk will be familiar to all regular SWC walkers, many of whom regard it as the best walk in the original TO book. But for newcomers, you are in for a treat ! The walk comes in three sections. Section one in the morning has you walking through the picturesque village of Firle before you climb up onto the South Downs, for a lengthy ridge walk on the South Downs Way. You then drop down to the village of Alfriston for lunch at one of its three excellent pubs: The George Inn, a favourite with SWC walkers; the newly refurbished Star Inn, and Ye Olde Smugglers Inn. Picnickers usually stop by the church.
After lunch section two starts with a walk beside the Cuckmere River to the village of Littlington, then over fields to the hamlet of West Dean before a climb up to Friston Forest. Through the forest and you arrive above Exceat. Drop down and you can conclude your walk here if you wish, by taking the regular bus to Seaford. Otherwise, you embark on section three by taking the Vanguard Way steadily uphill to a point above Cuckmere Haven. Depending on tide times today, swimmers can descend to the Haven for a swim. Returning back on top, you now enjoy an undulating clifftop walk with magnificent views behind you of the Seven Sisters - all eight of them ! You drop down from the clifftops to the town of Seaford, to walk along its promenade before you head for the town's centre and post walk refreshments. Recently walkers have spoken highly of Seaford Sailing / Yacht club which is open to the public for refreshments. Otherwise, please refer to the Directions for drink options. Personally, I like the mini-pub within the railway station premises. If you are hungry after today's exertions Trawlers fish and chip restaurant is a favourite with SWC walkers.
This walk comes highly recommended, for old hands and new !
Walk Directions are here: L=1.31

I’m thinking of doing this walk but on a later train as I’m not sure I can make the 8.54.
As far as I can see the trains are running every hour. Or is there something going on with the trains that I’m missing?

Probably to accommodate swimmers and the heat
If you want to frequent the Sailing Club, which is the only seafront cafe in Seaford, continue to the far end of the promenade and get the train back from Bishopstone station. There is more information here:
My favourite walk!
The train from Victoria was full with Meet Up groups, a CLOG group and some SWCers. On arriving at Lewes the SWC contingent found its connecting train to Glynde had been cancelled, with an hours wait until the next one. After a bit of head scratching we opted to take taxis to the walk start which worked well, supplemented by one car driver kindly giving lifts to three walkers. Three others had escaped the train disruption by taking earlier trains out of London, and some took later trains, so quoting walk numbers today is a bit hit and miss but let's say 16.
We were most fortunate with the weather. The forecast was not too promising, with showers some heavy predicted, but it did not rain until some of us were on the train home. It was a bit humid in the morning, but with a pleasant breeze on top of the Downs. The sun came out mid afternoon and the last leg of the walk along the cliff tops to Seaford was glorious. Before that, in the morning, I have never seen the South Downs Way so busy horse riders, mountain bikers, runners, walkers et al and how nice to see some families out in force. Alfriston was also busy and some of us managed to be fed at the George and the Smugglers pubs before embarking on the two afternoon legs of the walk. Admirers of butterflies would have enjoyed today they were everywhere and lots of different species as well.
On reaching Cuckmere Haven I don't believe anyone was tempted to take to the waters and the sea at Seaford was considered too rough for safe swimming. So instead some took tea on the promenade whilst others enjoyed a drink or two at the comfy pub in the railway station premises. The trains seemed to be running to schedule from Seaford to Lewes and Brighton, but some London bound trains from Lewes were cancelled during the early part of the evening I hope everyone managed to get home safely eventually.
Apart from the minor inconvenience of some travel disruption (understandable during the Pingdemic) most seemed to enjoy their day over the South Downs to the sea.
Five of us met at Glynde more or less on time including two new / newish walkers One by train from Lewes. The London train made an extra stop at Glynde to make up for the cancellation. Three of us came from the Eastbourne direction but the taxi group had departed. We stopped at The Ram in Firle for a swift half where we were passed by another who had walked from Lewes. After lunch at The George I walked back to Berwick for the car and collected Joanna from Litlington tea garden
As far as I know the rest of our group made it to Seaford.

Thank you, John for your additional report. If only there had been an announcement on our train from London about the additional stop, then we would not have disembarked at Lewes !!
With your numbers I now make it we mustered 21
Sat, 24-Aug-19 36

Saturday walk - Glynde to Seaford - a downland classic, ending at the sea

Length: 23km (14.3 miles) for the whole walk: 16.2km (10 miles) if you get a bus from Exceat

9.46 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.04 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.53, changing there for the 11.15 to Glynde, arriving 11.21. T=1.31

Buy a day return to Seaford. This should also be accepted for the short hop from Lewes to Glynde unless you get a ticket inspector in a bad mood.

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

An old favourite, not done in summer for a while. It is a fine downland walk with gorgeous views, and even in the early days of the SWC, when 12 miles was an epic adventure, we always used to think the miles flew by on this one.

I personally would skip the jiggery-pokery through allotments at the start and head straight up the road to cross the A27 at the junction, where a central reservation enables you to tackle one lane of the incessant traffic at a time. After that all is tranquil. A very early lunch would be possible at the Ram Inn in West Firle after just 2.2 miles: otherwise it is around 4.8 miles more (so 7 miles in all) to Alfriston, which has lots of lunch options, of which the usual SWC haunt is the George Inn with its very nice garden. They have a lovely website, full of interesting information about the area, but alas no information about their meal service times. But no matter: Alfriston is full of pubs and tea rooms, so you won’t starve.

Tea at the Saltmarsh Cafe in Exceat, open till 5pm (in earlier, innocent SWC days we considered this the best tea stop on the walks) from where you can get very regular (every ten minutes or so) number 12 buses to Seaford, if you want to finish the walk here. The Cuckmere Inn down the road is another possible tea stop, though I find the staff here unhelpful and unsmiling, and the rules about where and when they do it do not deign to serve food byzantine. The bus stop outside this pub was also out of action due to road works a few weeks back, though these may now have finished.

Those that don’t take the bus here will continue down to Cuckmere Haven and up over Seaford Head, a 6.3km (3.9 mile) walk of great beauty. In Seaford the Trawlers fish and chip shop near the station (not the more standard one down the road) is the best there is. There is also a lovely little bar in the station itself which is worth missing a train or two for.

For sea swimmers, the tide will perfect for a swim, conditions permitting, at Cuckmere Haven, with high tide at 6.33pm. A swim is also possible at the end of the walk at Seaford.

Trains back are at 25 and 53 past the hour till late, changing at Lewes. There are no longer any trains in the evening which require a change at Brighton instead.

Hello from Charleston SC, USA. I will be in London all of next week until Sunday and would love to join you on this hike.

Booking to Seaford and jumping on the Glynde train instead is okay? Anyone planning on leaving earlier and doing the 3.1 mile stretch from Lewes to Glynde?

What time do you generally finish this adventure in Seaford?

I have Friday free as well. Would you recommend I do the Seaford to Eastbourne section on Friday or would you recommend I do something entirely different? I'm looking forward to this and thank you in advance!
You are very welcome to join us. It is a fabulous walk and a lovely slice of England.

Regarding the train ticket, it is very very very unlikely that any “on board train staff” will appear between Lewes and Glynde and even more unlikely that they would object to a Seaford return, and if they did you would be in good company because all of us in the group will have the same ticket. If you find anyone willing to start from Lewes, you would have no problem at all as the Seaford return is valid via there.

Seaford to Eastbourne repeats the last 3.9 miles of this walk, but in the opposite direction, in which you actually have the amazing view in front of you. If Glynde to Seaford has one flaw, it is that on then last section you keep wanting to stop to look behind you. So yes, I would say that Seaford to Eastbourne is a perfect thing to do on Friday. It is considered to be one our out finest walks.
Do be aware, by the way, of how our walks work: we have no leaders.

This explains it all:
Intend to leave the walk at Exceat and catch a bus to Eastbourne. If cafe is busy at Exceat might break journey at East Dean for tea there
The Litlington Tea room, after Alfriston and before Exceat, was always a lovely place to visit. I don't think it would be far off the route.
Hi. New to SWC. Great site. Can you recommend a walk in the vicinity of Lewes/Seaford/Eastbourne that is well or partly wooded. Thanks for your help.
i hope to attend this walk and amay leave it
at Exceat too .

I'll join from Clapham Junction and hopefully find you :)
I assume if you leave the walk at Exceat and catch a bus to Eastbourne then you probably need to buy a day return to Eastbourne? (unfortunately a little more expensive)
36 on this walk, comprised of 33 on the specified train, plus three that were late for various reasons and caught us up. The train from Victoria was predictably given the hot sunny weather packed, and those that got on at Clapham Junction or East Croydon stood all the way to Lewes. The Glynde train was relatively quiet, however.

It was hot hot hot on the climb up onto the downs, which was bigger and longer than I remembered it. Up on top there was a bit of a breeze. We got fairly strung out and about half the group I never saw again. I hope the Downs Monster did not get them.

Quite a lot of us ate at the George in Alfriston. It is always nice to eat in this lovely pub with its idyllic garden, but more than one (all right: two) commented that the food was a bit tasteless. Certainly my duck was tough, the red cabbage unemotional and the gravy tasted like it had been made from granules. But fair dos, there are starving people in the world and it filled a hole.

After lunch some tried the Littlington tea room and pronounced it good (there is also a pub in this village that looked like it would make a nice lunch stop). I was enchanted to re make the acquaintance of Friston Forest after so long. Lots stopped to admire the view of the Cuckmere valley: two of us pressed in instead to the Saltmarsh tea room, to be told first that they were about to close (at 4.10pm, when the stated closing time was 5pm) and that we could only have takeaways, and then that we could sit at our table to drink our takeaways. They then let in plenty of other customers, including others in the group, and happily served them tea in china cups. Another puzzling anecdote to add to my planned Book of Outstanding British Customer Service.

Six of us split off at this point to walk to Birling Gap and East Dean. I hope several lots! of the others swam on the west side of Cuckmere Haven and enjoyed an idyllic walk over Seaford Head and had chips on Seaford Beach as the sun set. A separate report about how you all got on would be most welcome.

We splittists went to the east beach at Cuckmere, and despite some cloud build up enjoyed the most wonderful of swims, on a flat calm sea, with soft golden light to the west, the looming cliffs of Haven Brow to the east, and once we had swum about 200 metres out from the shore a grand panorama of the Seven Sisters.

We then enjoyed that most rare of things these days, a walk over a relatively deserted Seven Sisters, the selfie making hordes having departed for the day. Five of us enjoyed a sunset swim at Birling Gap. We walked to East Dean, where two stopped for a brief snack in the Tiger Inn and three of us got an earlier bus to Seaford in pursuit of chips. The Trawlers being by now (9pm) closing, we went to “the other place”, which was OK, if a tad slow. We had a quick drink in the pub in the station and got the 21.25 train. Mercifully the connecting train at Lewes was not that busy and we had a convivial journey home until the Gatwick Invasion with their continent sized suitcases put a stop to it, anyway.
A further group of 8 South Downs explorers went for the traditional menu: a refreshing swim at Cuckmere Haven (those whose attention wandered to the sky were treated with a fire rainbow display), onward to Seaford for further refreshment at the Plough (excellent Harvey's and Longman beers plus medicinal tonics) and a visit to Trawlers en route to the station to ensure that the proprietors would not be wasting any of their food at closing time.

Fellow passengers on the train from Seaford vicariously enjoyed our fish and chips (!) which we had finished prior to arrival at Lewis. The Glynde Opera crowd would have taken a dim view of such loutish behaviour: the train was mobbed and we got separated trying to find seats (twice, as we tried to find empty space when near empty carriages were joined at Haywards Heath).

A big day out in fine weather with great company.

(Thanks as always to the tireless volunteers that post the walks and support the SWC.)
A great day out. Some of us picnickers who ate by the church in Alfriston walked on to the delightfully gladed tea gardens in Litlington, home made cakes and plenty of tea options. This would be worth adding to the lunch/tea options for the walk, although a little bit soon after Alfriston if you have lunched there, summer time only because it's open air. It knocks spots off the Exceat tea place. Six had tea, then we split at Exceat four to the west of Cuckmere and two to the east. We split again at the western beach, two off to Seaford and two had a very nice dip in the calm sea at Cuckmere Haven. Walking along Seaford Head the sea and sky looked beautiful as the sunlight shone through. We then bumped into three more in the platform bar at Seaford station, where the beer and the 'mystery pie' was going down well (the bar staff weren't sure of the content of the pie). Two of us took our drinks on to the 7.25pm train (quiet) and got on another quiet train at Lewes homeward bound. Thanks for posting this great walk!
Sat, 05-Jan-19 20

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
Will take the later 09.46 train for the short walk option, and bus it from Exceat.
a few of us will join you with the late start
on 9:46am train
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 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 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...
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.
So total 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.
A special mention for the wonderful views of the Seven Sisters from the cliffs above Cuckmere. The sea was the most wonderful colour.
Mon, 02-Apr-18

Easter Monday - Glynde to Seaford: an energetic but rewarding walk up and over the South Downs

Book 1, Walk 31- Glynde to Seaford

Length: 23 km (14.3 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10

London Victoria: 09-47 hrs Ore train. CJ 09-53, EC 10-03
Arrive Lewes: 10-47 hrs. Change trains
Leave Lewes: 11-09 hrs Ore and Eastbourne stopping service from Brighton
Arrive Glynde: 11-14 hrs

Those wanting to "go long" today by adding [as a pre-walk to today's main walk], the opening leg of Book 2, Walk 25, from Lewes to Glynde via Mount Caburn, then you should take the 08-47 hrs train from Victoria. You should reach Glynde station at the time the main walkers arrive.

Return: Seaford to Victoria via Lewes: 57 mins past the hour.
Return: Seaford to Victoria via Brighton: 25 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Seaford

Today's walk up and over the South Downs is a favourite of many a SWC walker, and it should make a pleasant Spring outing today if the weather is half decent. As I am sure most of you will have given this walk a go at least once before now, I will limit the pre-amble to a few salient facts and tips, leaving newcomers to read the notes in the walk directions.

Lunch today can be taken at one of the three pubs in Alfriston, which you should reach by 13-30 hrs. Being a Bank Holiday they are all likely to be busy, particularly if the weather is nice, so best if you split up and mix and match. There is also a good pub in Litlington - the Plough and Harrow - which you reach 40 mins after leaving Alfriston. There is also at least one deli and convenience store in Alfriston for sandwichers to buy provisions.

You can stop for an early tea in Exceat Country Park, or at the pub at Exceat Bridge. You can also terminate your walk in Exceat by taking the bus to Seaford or Eastbourne ( a frequent service).

Wednesday walkers on 14 March diverted off the Vanguard Way, shortly after the start of your final leg today, and walked through the farms below Seaford Head to view the new born lambs recently turned out into the fields. You might like to do the same on today's walk before your final stretch along the clifftops to Seaford. There are pubs and bars in Seaford for tea before you start your journey home. Trawlers fish and chips restaurant usually opens on Bank Holidays for those wanting more substantial sustenance at walk-end.
Walk Directions here: L=1.31
Wed, 28-Jun-17 4

Wednesday Walk - Glynde to Seaford

Book 1,Walk 31 - Glynde to Seaford

Length: 23 km (14.3 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10

To shorten the walk, take the bus from Exceat into Seaford

London Victoria: 09-47 hrs Ore and Littlehampton Service: CJ 09-53 hrs; EC 10-03 hrs
Arrive Lewes: 10-47 hrs
Leave Lewes: 11-09 hrs Ore stopping service from Brighton
Arrive Glynde: 11-14 hrs

Return: Seaford to Victoria: via Lewes at 16-25, 16-54, 17-20, 17-57, 18-24, 18-59 and 19-17 hrs:
Seaford to Victoria: via Brighton at 18-41 and 19-37 hrs

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Seaford. For Railcards holders whose railcards only come into play from 10-00 hrs, you should make it to East Croydon and buy your off peak return from there.

This is the longest walk in Book 1 and many a walker's favourite. It comes in 3 legs, all very different, and all delightful: Leg 1 - From Glynde to Alfriston. Leaving the railway station it's best to keep to the road (rather than taking the inland path) until you reach the A27 road, which you cross with care, before heading for the village of West Firle via Firle Park. From there you head towards the base of the downs for a steep ascent up onto the South Downs, for a lovely ridge walk, with fine views, You descend off the downs into the village of Alfriston for lunch, where you have a choice of three good pubs and a number of tea rooms. Popular with SWC walkers is the George Inn tel: 01323-870319 . It's advisable to 'phone ahead with numbers - your e.t.a 13-30 hrs.
Leg 2 - Alfriston to Exceat (pronounced Ex-Seat): this leg starts beside the Cuckmere River for a leisurely stroll along its river bank. You leave this path at Litlington , where there is a late lunch option at the excellent Plough and Harrow pub - which also acts as a stop to take on liquid. It's uphill now, towards the village of West Dean, then into Friston Forest before you descend to Exceat where you can take an early tea stop at the former Exceat Farmhouse.(which may now be called Saltmarsh, open until 16-00 hrs).For those who prefer to wait for tea until walk-end, you can make use of the ice cream van usually parked up in the car park.
Leg 3 - Exceat to Seaford: starts with a short section of road walking to Exceat Bridge where you pass the Cuckmere Inn (another refreshment option) then head along the Vanguard Way to Cuckmere Haven ( a swimming opportunity if the tide is in - swimmers, bring your cosies !). Your homeward stretch consists of a stroll along the cliff-tops, with fine views back of the Severn Sisters. You drop down from the cliffs into the town of Seaford - another swimming opportunity - and head for the railway station. Close to the station you find a number of pubs and restaurants and, another SWC favourite, Trawlers Fish and Chip Restaurant, for those peckish after today's long walk..
If you are a new SWC walker who has never tried this walk, it comes with my personal recommendation. Enjoy !
Walk Directions here: L=1.31

Two major chalk cliff falls at Seaford Head recently. Keep well away from cliff edge, at least 25m.
A surprisingly low turnout for the best walk in Book 1 just 4 of us.
The day started strangely. Of the three who alighted from the London train at Lewes, one immediately got on the wrong onward train (to Seaford instead of Glynde) and had to catch a bus to Alfriston. Another took possession of a four foot flower cutting from Lewes Station's fine garden display, and proceeded to walk with it over the Downs, but stopped en route at the Ram Inn, Firle, for a tincture for
herself and her flower. The two semi normal ones ? left then set out on the walk in dull overcast but mostly dry conditions, warm and slightly humid, with no wind, even on top of the Downs.
The four were eventually reunited at the George, Alfriston where all enjoyed an excellent lunch sitting outdoors, now in slight drizzle. Our flower lady took the bus to Seaford, leaving three to negotiate leg 2 and very nice, too. The descent to Exceat is always lovely. Onwards on leg 3 on the Vanguard Way to Cuckmere Haven, where we resisted the temptation to skinny dip (mustn't scare the horses), but instead set out on the cliff top walk, now in steady drizzle, talking care along the way, as Pete B had warned, recent land slips having made sections of the walk potentially dangerous. We skipped tea and caught the 17 57 hrs train from Seaford, and were back in London at 19 30 hrs, having enjoyed a lovely walk, in slightly strange circumstances.
Sat, 20-Aug-16 20

First walk - a South Downs and seaside classic

Book 1 Walk 31 - Glynde to Seaford
Length: 23km (14.3 miles) - 16.8km (10.4 miles) with bus from Exceat
Toughness: 8 out of 10

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, changing there (arrive 10.47, depart 11.09) for Glynde, arriving 11.14.

** In the event of train disruption, the 9.50 to Brighton also offers a tight connection to the Glynde train (arrive 10.46, depart 10.52). If the Glynde train is cancelled, you could see what a taxi would charge (it is not far) or walk from Lewes: eg see Book 2, walk 25, which covers similar territory and which you could bring with you as back up

Buy a day return to Seaford.

For walk directions click here

*** Last minute weather update: given high winds forecast for today, particularly on the south coast, it could be very blowy up on the downs. An alternative would be to stay below the escarpment in the morning, which might be a bit more sheltered. This document has a route from the Ram Inn in West Firle (reached fairly early in this walk), along the bottom of the South Downs, passing Charleston (summer home of the Bloomsbury set and worth a visit) to Berwick Church (decorated by the Bloomsbury set). If you then take the footpath running south (towards the downs) from Berwick Church, that brings you in a mile or so to Alfriston, the lunch village for Book 1, Walk 31. In the afternoon, book 1 walk 31 is less exposed, but an even more sheltered option might be to simply to follow the path along the Cuckmere River from Alfriston to Exceat, which sticks to the west (and hopefully less windy) side of the valley. From Exceat there are buses to Seaford (providing these are running in the high winds...) Note that all Saturday walks are AT YOUR OWN RISK. Please make your own judgement about the advisability of walking based on published weather forecasts).

If trains to the coast are seriously disrupted due to high winds, meet at Costa Coffee alongside platform 7 at Victoria at 9.50 and we will make other plans.

There have been rumblings in the comments section that we are doing "too many winter walks" this summer. Well, here is a summer classic, which oddly does not seem to have had an outing since April 2015. In the days when there was only book one, it was considered the SWC's favourite walk.

Don't be put off by the length. This is grand scenery and the miles fly by. In the morning you cross a valley and climb up onto the South Downs then walk a glorious stretch of downland to lunch in picturesque Alfriston (lots of options - pubs, tea rooms etc). You then follow the Cuckmere River for a stretch and cross hills to Exceat, for tea at the Saltmarsh Cafe. From there there is a lovely walk down to Cuckmere Haven and over Seaford Head to the best fish and chips on the walk (The Trawlers, just by Seaford station).

If all that is too much joy for one day (or if the winds look to be too strong, as the last section of the walk is very exposed), you can take the very frequent number 12 bus from Exceat to Seaford, shortening the walk to 16.8km (10.4 mile) option. But you miss some very beautiful scenery.

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 and 57 till 19.25, changing at Lewes. After this the 19.57 and 20.57 require a change at Brighton, which is not much quicker than waiting for the 20.28 or 21.28 past, changing at Lewes. After that, there is the 22.20, changing at Lewes which you will share with dinner-jacketed audience members coming back from Glyndebourne. T=1.31

Thanks Walker, great suggestions. I may be going mad but Accuweather doesn't seem to have the strong gusts that the BBC weather forecast shows. The storm is due in at 2am and so will have hopefully have abated before we are out on our respective walks.
Cross fingers!

I am possibly starting to get a cold, so may not be able to come with maps tomorrow after all. I will see how I feel....

Let's hope both storms and virus blow through quickly....

I'm going whatever the weather. If trains are disrupted, I won't be at Victoria as I live south of the river and get on the train en route so I'll get the next one and continue on the Glynde to Seaford walk.
Actually, famous last words, but the bug seems to be going away again. I am feeling a lot better than I did at lunch time. So while I am not definitely Main Engines Start on this one, I am certainly resuming countdown. Latest BBC weather forecast I have seen says "blustery" but not "damaging gusts", but check for yourself.
20 on this walk despite the dire forecast. It was lashing with rain on the train down but once we got off it was very windy but also reasonably sunny and the only rain was a brief intense shower at tea time.

There was some discussion about whether to go up on the South Downs ridge, given the wind, but SWC walkers are made of stern stuff and most (all?) of us did. It was indeed very windy but steadily so rather than gusty, and not enough to impede walking. I will put a video on our Facebook page to show what it was like.

A few had lunch in the George in Alfriston, some had sandwiches in the dhurchyard: not sure what the rest did. In the afternoon the walk to Exceat was more sheltered. Three of us got to tea at the Saltmarsh only to be told as soon as we sat down that the owner had told them to shut due to high winds to come.

We joined others in the Cuckmere Inn just down the road and there was some consideration of the possible dangers of crossing Seaford Head in the high winds, but in the end a lot of us did so anyway. The wind came and went at first but on the top it did indeed get very tricky, with gusts intense enough to stop us in our tracks at times. I worried about getting blown over. Small bits of chalk from the clifftop also flew into us at times, something I have never experienced before. We survived, though, and descending to the seafront at Seaford met with an extraordinary scene: huge waves 2 metres plus the golden late afternoon sun misted with sea spray, darker clouds to the west. Unforgettable.

We went inland to have chips but most decided when they got there that they were not hungry and rushed to the train station. Two of us persuaded the Trawlers to let us jump the queue so we could get our takeaway and still make the same train, the 6.28 But getting to the platform with two minutes to spare we saw the 6.25 (for such it was: my mistake) pulling out. So dinner on a platform bench and then the usual Southern saga on the way home train delayed at Haywards Heath because the connection was 25 minutes late, switch to a Thameslink train, change at East Croydon yadda yadda....
Sitting eating lunch near the church, I somehow managed to miss the later group leaving at lunchtime so did the second half of the walk on my own. I managed not to get blown into the sea (luckily the wind was blowing me inland, rather than towards the cliff) but it was hard work walking against it. Nonetheless, the views were as lovely as ever and it was at least warm and dry. I got the 19.25 train from Seaford. I heard rumour that a few sensible walkers did the lowland morning route via Charlston Farmhouse and Berwick Church. It sounds very nice and I've noted it for future windy days.
Five opted for the valley route to morning tea and cake at Charleston farmhouse, lunch at the Cricketers Arms in Berwick, and afternoon tea at Badgers in Alfriston, with yet more cake (but sadly not the Victoria sponge cake with gooseberry jam for which they are rightly famed). Slow bus from Exeat to Brighton Station for four, meeting the fifth again, on the 7.18 Gatwick Express, he having managed to fit in at least one train journey and an alleged rendezvous in Lewes with the main group, since going awol at Exeat. Amazing. Less than optimal on the swimming but a grand day out.
Mon, 06-Apr-15 Glynde to Seaford
Sat, 20-Jul-13 14 Glynde to Seaford
Sun, 05-May-13 3 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 08-Jul-12 Glynde to Seaford
Sat, 30-Jul-11 Glynde to Seaford
Thu, 08-Jul-10 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 03-Jul-10 Glynde to Seaford
Wed, 10-Feb-10 Glynde to Seaford
Sat, 29-Aug-09 Glynde to Seaford
Mon, 25-May-09 Glynde to Seaford
Sat, 06-Sep-08 Glynde to Seaford
Sun, 10-Aug-08 Glynde to Seaford
Sat, 04-Aug-07 Glynde to Seaford
Sun, 10-Jun-07 Glynde to Seaford