Hastings Old Town 2

21-Aug-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk29

Hastings Old Town 3

21-Aug-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk29

Hastings Old Town 1

21-Aug-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk29

Military canal 1

21-Aug-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk29

Military canal

21-Aug-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk29

Book 2, Walk 29, Hastings to Rye

2 May 2005

02-May-05 • MEW2005 on Flickr

book2 walk29 swcwalks tocw229

Book 2, Walk 29, Hastings to Rye

Taken from the beach near Pett Level, 2 May 2005.

02-May-05 • MEW2005 on Flickr

book2 walk29 swcwalks tocw229

Hastings to Rye walk

Seaside Hastings, a hilly cliff walk with 4 steep climbs and a remote naturist beach. Gentle afternoon to historic Winchelsea and Rye via a noted viewpoint.


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: Thu, 17-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 01-Dec-18 11

Saturday Walk - From Cinque Port to Cinque Port, via hills, a beach and some marshes: Hastings to Rye

Length: 20.1 km (12.5 mi) [Shortcut needed? Finish at Winchelsea after lunch (15.42 train)]
Ascent/Descent: 423/435m; Net Walking Time: 5 hours
Toughness: 6/10
Take the 08.45 Hastings train from Charing X (08.48 W’loo East, 08.54 London Bridge), arrives Hastings 10.19.
Return trains from Rye are on xx.47 to St. Pancras via Ashford (67 mins journey times).
Buy a return to Rye (Sussex). [You will have to pay a High-Speed surcharge for the return journey, unless you travel back via Hastings (also on xx.47, but a much longer journey)]
This rewarding walk starts in the Cinque Ports town of Hastings with a fine clifftop coastal walk with steep climbs along the way. This section is the most strenuous part of the walk. From Pett Level, the terrain levels out, before leading up through the New Gate into Winchelsea for (late) lunch. Just east of the town, you reach The Look Out, offering panoramic views across the whole of Romney Marsh to Dungeness, and to the Kent Downs beyond. From there it is down and along to Ferry Bridge, following an easy flat route north east to Rye.
Lunch: The New Inn in Winchelsea (15.0 km/9.3 mi, food to 15.00).
Tea: Lots of choice in Rye, mostly just a little off route in the interesting town centre, including The Fig, Catcher in Rye, The Devil in Rye, Corridor Café, Café Zara, The Grapevine, The Apothecary, Coterie Tea Rooms, The George in Rye, Cozy Kitchen, The Whitehouse, Kino Cinema Café, Ypres Castle Inn, Hope Anchor, Mermaid Inn, The Cobbles Tearoom, Ye Olde Bell Inn, The Standard Inn, Cinque Ports Arms, Café des Fleurs…
For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, some photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=2.29
And it was blowing a hooley!
The weather was broadly as forecast, only that the winds didn't feel as strong as supposed, and that the rain went on for longer than supposed, namely all the way to lunch. That didn't really matter though as we walked west to east, so had wind and rain from the right behind, pushing us on and up the four ascents. The closed footpath at Ecclesbourne Glen was a tad difficult to negotiate what with being slippery, and the track beside the Royal Military Canal was a bit roughed up by farm vehicles, else there were no problems with route or paths.
We got to The New Inn in Winchelsea in two groups a few minutes apart, either side of 13.30, and it was quite a pleasant stay: fireplaces, wooden floors, friendly staff and good meals. The slower walkers left there after 90 minutes and we opted to forgo the field crossings to Rye and instead followed the 1066 Country Walk down Dumb Woman's Lane. Got to Rye in time for the 16.47 train (most) or for a tourist tour through Rye in pre Christmas splendour, and a final drink at the highly recommended Ypres Castle pub (the others). 17.47 train for those. All in, a refreshing day in great company, and probably a very good walk for the weather.
11 windy with rain to lunch
Wed, 04-Jul-18 10

Wednesday Walk: Hastings to Rye - One Cinque port, two ancient towns, and some steep glens [with swimming opportunity]

Book 2, Walk 29 - Hastings to Rye

Length: 19 km (11.8 miles)
Toughness: 8 out of 10

London St Pancras: 09-37 hrs
Arrive Ashford International: 10-18 hrs. Change trains
Leave Ashford International: 10-24 hrs Eastbourne service
Arrive Hastings: 11-06 hrs

London Charing Cross: 09-45 hrs Hastings service
Arrive Hastings: 11-17 hrs
.......then walk quickly to catch up the Pancreatics


Rye to London via Ashford International: 48 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: Either a day return to Hastings - any route permitted - or a day return to Rye.

Last year in May mid-week walkers did the Book 1 version of this walk - Rye to Hastings via Winchelsea - and very enjoyable too. The advantage of doing the walk "backwards" (viz the Book 2 walk), by starting in Hastings, is you tackle the steep glens early in the walk, when you still have petrol in the tank. By contrast, the glens are very hard going and challenging when you reach them late in the Book 1 walk.
We will decide on the day whether to take the detour to avoid the closed Ecclesbourne Glen, or make our way around the land slip. But please note: the official advice is to take the detour.
After the glens, you are reversing the Book 1 walk all the way to Pett Level. Your early lunch stop on this walk (recommended for those intending to swim at Pett Beach) comes before Pett, near Fairlight. I am told the Coastguards Tea Rooms are pleasant. The tea rooms are located up the road from the Hastings Country Park Visitors Centre. Onwards then to Pett Level via Fairlight and its landslips. As those intending to swim head for the beach, please note - the pub next to the beach - The Smugglers - is now closed and up for sale. For a pub lunch you will need to reverse a bit more of the Book 1 walk uphill to stop at the Royal Oak Inn, in the village of Pett, which re-opened two years ago - and looks rather nice.
After lunch, depending on where you land up, you make your way to the historic village of Winchelsea, then head across farmland and some vast fields to Rye.
This should make a good, energetic outing on America's Independence Day. I leave it to you to celebrate with our American cousins or commiserate over the loss of our American colonies.
Walk Directions here: L=2.29
Please be aware that the Smugglers Inn at Pett Level looked as if was closed when I drove by last week.
The New Inn in Winchelsea is another option. Also if wish to avoid the steep Glen's there is quite a pleasant route via Barley Lane.
Thanks, Johnny The Smugglers is indeed now closed, and up for sale. I will amend the posting.

For south Londoners not wishing to head to St Pancras or to start the walk 10 minutes behind the others, another option might be to take the 09:14 service from Cannon Street, which calls at Orpington at 09:40 and Sevenoaks at 09:50, arriving at Hastings at 11:02.

Despite requiring a bit of energy, the steep wooded glens are one of the major attractions of the walk, and the path through the officially closed Ecclesbourne Glen was fine when I last tried it.
My current health situation might prevent me from 'doing' the glens so I might just follow the path across the top and attempt to rendezvous for lunch somewhere. I will be waiting at the top of Tamarisk Steps near the East Cliff Funicular Railway about 1130.
10 very hot and sunny
Sun, 06-Aug-17 5

Sussex coast sliding away

Book 2 Walk 29 – Hastings to Rye
Length: 19km (11.8 miles) Toughness: 7/10

09:25 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 09:33, Orpington 09:51) arriving at Hastings at 11:00.

Return trains from Rye to Charing Cross, changing at Hastings, are at xx:39 (journey time 2 hours 28 mins, including a 34 minute wait at Hastings).
A much faster alternative is to take a train from Rye to Ashford International at xx:38, changing there on to the high speed service to St Pancras (journey time 1 hour 17 minutes). Buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return to Rye, specifying that you want to return on the high speed service. Buying separate Advance tickets for the outward and return legs the day before travelling will be a bit cheaper, but you’ll need to select a particular timed train for the return journey.

This is a dramatic coastal walk, starting out through Hastings Country Park with some steep climbs through three glens in the morning, followed by flatter territory in the afternoon. Ongoing landslides in Ecclesbourne Glen mean that path diversions will be in place until at least May 2018. You are strongly advised not to ignore these. Details of the detour can be found on the Hastings to Rye Walk page.

It is also a popular swimming walk, with swimming opportunities at Fairlight Glen, and later at Pett Level.

The walk can be shortened to 10 miles by taking a train to Ashford.from Winchelsea (trains at 15:33, 17:33 and 19:33) or by catching a bus from Winchelsea to Rye.

The recommended lunch spot is the Coastguards Tea Room (01424 814 131) at the top of the last hill and just a bit inland from the Coast Guard Tower. Alternatively, faster walkers can eat at the Smugglers Inn at Pett Level (01424 813 491). Tea can be taken at The New Inn in Winchelsea, or at a number of places in Rye.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.
all walks this weekend are south of the river, is this a record? and rye to hastings has just been on a few weeks ago (I am aware that this is hastings to rye)...
If you want an excellent light lunch or splendid cake with brilliant coffee try The Red Pig food truck parked about 200 metres in a layby beyond The Smugglers' Inn in Pett Level. It is open at weekends only and is a blend of Romany caravan and Brooklyn chic. It is powered by golf buggy batteries and calor gas. Mainly outside seating but very cosy inside.
I have travelled from Hastings to London on the past two Sundays and the Charing Cross trains were going into Cannon St even though the website indicated Charing Cross. However an attendant at Waterloo East last night assured me that it would be Charing Cross on Sunday! Alternatively the Victoria route to Hastings is working reasonably well at the moment.
Is there a cheap train offer on this one pls?
5 in total on this beautiful walk. Weather was glorious. Sunny day with a breeze to keep us from frying.
Two of us went to the Red Pig for lunch. Excellent food and really unusual. We spoke to the guy running it and he suggested a short cut across Petts level so that we didn't have to retrace our footsteps. Winchelsea and Rye picturesque.
A great walk with varied scenery. One of the best that I have done with SWC. Thanks
5 Sunny day with a breeze
Sat, 17-Sep-16 12

Saturday Third Walk -- Dramatic Cliffs and an Ancient Cinque Port Town

Book Two Walk 29: Hastings to Rye – A Dramatic Coastal Cliff Walk ending in Picturesque Rye

Distance: 11.8 Miles or 19 km for those more metrically minded (with options to shorten with bus at Pett Level or Winchelsea)

Difficulty: 7 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:15 AM Hastings train from London Charing Cross (stopping at London Bridge at 9:23), arriving at Hastings at 10:59. Alternatively, you can take the 9:42 AM train from London St. Pancras and change on to a train to Hastings at Ashford (arriving 10:20; leaving 10:33) – however, this option does not arrive in Hastings until 11:13 – so you will need to walk briskly to catch the others up. Also, it does depend on a Southern service – so could be subject to potential staffing problems. Return trains from Rye are at 56 minutes past the hour until 21:56. Buy a day return to Rye.

The forecast is looking pretty promising for this Saturday – so fingers crossed the actual weather again follows the forecast… This is a dramatic coastal walk with a few big climbs in the morning and a nice swimming spot nestled in a remote cove for those still searching for the “last swim of the season” (with high tide at midday on Saturday – conditions should be ideal). After lunch, the route is more or less downhill or flat across a marsh with another swimming opportunity at Pett Level. Please note that part of the coastal path has been diverted at the beginning of the walk – see some instructions for the diversion on the walk information page. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.
The recommended lunch spot is the Coastguards Tea Room (01424 814 131) at the top of the last hill and just a bit inland from the Coast Guard Tower. Alternatively, faster walkers can eat at the Smugglers Inn at Pett Level (01424 813 491). Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the New Inn in Winchelsea (from where you can also catch a bus into Rye). Rye also offers a variety of refreshment spots.

Enjoy the walk!
The Brighton Ashford train (the Marsh Line)usually runs but this week there has been a bus replacement service in parts of the route but not everyday. The lovely 100 bus (The Wave) will get you to Rye or back to Hastings. Regarding the paths around the landslip that is a big local debate. At the end of the day it is nature's force and the clif has been eroding for a long tome.
Several weeks ago I did the Winchelsea to Hastings walk and decided to continue on the path through the landslip section. I found it a struggle, although in my advanced years I am not as fit or limber as I was. The heavy rain today may make the path more unstable and descending it may prove more difficult than an ascent which is what I did. I would think very carefully about ignoring the warnings around using the closed off path.
This is a very good point, Pete B heavy rain after a prolonged dry period is perfect landslip conditions. Not only should walkers stick to the signposted diversion, but I would have thought going down to Fairlight Glen for a swim might also not be a good idea. The path is maintained by naturists but goes down a landslip too.
At the risk of reducing the grading this walk to a 3/4 you can cut along Barley Lane then through a disused gravel working to emerge near the Fairlight Coastguard Cottages and the café. Just following the path diversions though will still give a decent walk with great sea views.
12 on this walk. Obviously we would have liked to have had the weather of two days earlier, but it was not a disaster. Instead there was breezy cloud breaking to sun at times then rain later. The best of the sun was just after lunch, when for a time it was rather pleasant. By tea time there was prolonged and heavy rain, however.

Despite doubts from some quarters (including me) nine of us tackled the landslide. The warning signs and barriers have interestingly disappeared from this but the area affected is bigger than last year i.e. There have been further landslips I would say. For quite a distance the path is "a bit of an obstacle course" as one local said.

Nine of us went down to the sea at Fairlight Glen and five swam. It was high tide and the sun was shining through the cloud making the sea an attractive green against a dark grey sky. There was a long, gentle swell and the water was much warmer than it looked.

After lunch at the Coastguards tea room and the sunny bit, it began to rain as we approached Winchelsea, discouraging any thoughts of walking to Rye. Instead after a cosy tea in the New Inn we all got the bus. Eight of us then ate in the "Wipers Arms" in Rye.
Sat, 19-Sep-15 9

Saturday Third Walk

Book Two Walk 29: Hastings to Rye – A Dramatic Coastal Cliff Walk ending in Picturesque Rye

Distance: 11.8 Miles (with option to shorten by about 3 miles with train or bus at Winchelsea)
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Train: Take the 9:45 AM Hastings train from London Charing Cross (9:47 at Waterloo East BUT NOT stopping at London Bridge), arriving at Hastings at 11:18. There does not appear to be any advantage to taking the high speed train going out – as the journey time is the same or longer! Return trains from Rye are at 56 minutes past the hour until 21:56. Alternatively, you could return from Winchelsea on a train at 17:50; 19:51 or 21:53. Either way, you will need to change at Ashford onto either the regular train or the high speed train where there is an advantage on the way back (it is roughly 30 minutes faster on the return). Buy a day return to Rye (or Winchelsea if you plan to return from there) and consider including the high speed for the return.
I do not think this walk has had a Saturday outing this summer (while it shares some of the route of the walk to Hastings posted last month going in the opposite direction, it also has a number of differences) – so an effort to squeeze it in before the first day of Autumn! The morning has a few big climbs and a nice swimming spot for those still searching for the “last swim of the season” – the tide will be rising when you arrive at Fairlight (about midway) in the morning and should be just past its peak at Pett Level in the afternoon AND the water temperature is holding at its near peak temperature (16.9 degrees today). After lunch, the route is more or less downhill or flat across a marsh. You can reduce the length of the walk by catching a train in Winchelsea or taking a bus from just outside the New Inn to Rye (49 minutes past the hour until 17:49; then 18:37 and 19:37). You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here. Alternatively, the instructions for the walk are in Book 2.
The recommended lunch spot is the fully licensed Coastguards Tearoom (01424 814 131) at the top of the last hill and just a bit inland from the Coast Guard Tower (or similar structure). Alternatively, faster walkers can eat at the Smugglers Inn at Pett Level (01424 813491). Tea and other late afternoon/evening refreshments can be had at the New Inn in Winchelsea (from where you can also catch a bus into Rye). Rye also offers a variety of refreshment spots.
Enjoy the walk!

The path down into Ecclesbourne Glen (the first dip) is still officially closed. I tried it on 4 September. The problem is right at the top at the Hastings end of the diversion: about 80 metres worth. The path is passable but this area is obviously rather unstable with further landslips possible (especially when the ground is saturated by heavy rain….) and I guess this is why (sensibly) the local authorities have kept the path closed.
There's a Food and wine festival on all day in Hastings with Hastings choir singing on the beach, in case anyone is feeling less energetic.
9 Sunny with just a bit of cloud in the afternoon Congrats to Stargazer for picking a perfect walk for a perfect day. The sun was warm, the sea sparkled, there was almost no wind and views were crystal sharp (to Beachy Head one way Folkestone and beyond the other: Dungeness standing out in sharp detail, France faintly visible).

Seven attempted to swim at Fairlight but three were defeated by the underwater rocks just covered by the tide. The four of us that made it to open water had a fine swim but truth to tell the water was a bit cold. Officially it may have been only just off summer highs, but to me it felt more like early July.

Later at Pett Level we almost passed on a final swim, but one decided to go in and five others joined him. There was a bit of cloud by this time, but it was still a mainly sunny farewell to the sea swimming season.

After warming up on a brisk walk inland to Winchelsea, five got the bus, but three carried on to Rye and one (me) enjoyed a beautiful dusk walk to Winchelsea station the sun setting, a crescent moon in the sky, robins singing for the 19.50 train. I then met the Rye walkers for a nice dinner in the Ypres Castle before taking the last train home to St Pancras.

And so the summer ended...
Sat, 19-Jul-14 9 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 21-Sep-13 7 Hastings to Rye
Wed, 24-Apr-13 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 16-Mar-13 22 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 01-Sep-12 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 23-Jun-12 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 01-Oct-11 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 16-Jul-11 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 07-Aug-10 Hastings to Rye
Thu, 22-Jul-10 Hastings Circular (short walk)
Sun, 20-Jun-10 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 19-Sep-09 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 30-Aug-08 Hastings to Rye
Sun, 25-May-08 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 01-Mar-08 Hastings to Rye
Sat, 05-Jan-08 Hastings Circular (short walk)
Sun, 02-Sep-07 Hastings to Rye
Sun, 15-Apr-07 Hastings to Rye
Sun, 31-Dec-06 Hastings Circular (short walk)