Book 2, Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne

Book 2, Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne

Seven Sisters, 28 March 2005

27-Mar-05 • MEW2005 on Flickr

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Book 2, Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne

Book 2, Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne

The Seven Sisters from Birling Gap, 23 Sept 2006

23-Sep-06 • MEW2005 on Flickr

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The Seven Sisters, South Downs

The Seven Sisters, South Downs

Between Eastbourne and Seaford on the South Coast, the Seven Sisters are even more dramatic than the White Cliffs of Dover.

06-Apr-07 • Paul Stephenson on Flickr

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Cliff

Cliff

Seaford to Eastbourne

22-Mar-09 • moontiger on Flickr

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Flagstaff Point and Belle Tout

Flagstaff Point and Belle Tout

Seaford to Eastbourne walk

09-Jul-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Cuckmere Haven

Cuckmere Haven

31-Aug-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

swcwalks book 2 walk28 walkicon

Cuckmere Haven

Cuckmere Haven

31-Aug-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

swcwalks book 2 walk28 walkicon

Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters) walk

The best walk in the Southeast! A dramatic cliff walk passing Cuckemere Haven, the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head as the South Downs meets the sea. Ends with Eastbourne's promenade and pier.

Group Walk Posts

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.

Like our walks, these posts are copyrighted. You may re-use them for non-commercial events only.

Date # Post
Mon, 28-Aug-17 8

Bank Holiday Monday walk - Eastbourne to Seaford

Book 2 Walk 28 in reverse - Eastbourne to Seaford
Length: 22.3km (13.8 miles) - shorter options using buses
Toughness: 9 out of 10: hilly but nice views

9.47 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Eastbourne, arriving 11.08

The best seaside walk in the South East. Lots of hills but grand views throughout.

Walk directions: use SWC Walk 60 Eastbourne Circular which will get you as far as the start of the Seven Sisters: after that keep the sea to your left, veering inland after the last Sister to cross the Cuckmere River by the road bridge at Exceat. Take the river path on the far side of the bridge, then resume the coast walk into Seaford.

SWC 60 also provides possible shorter options, e.g. ending at East Dean or Exceat using the No 12 bus.

Lunch at the Beachy Head pub (may be busy!) or bring a picnic. Tea at Birling Gap, the Seaspray cafe at Exceat or the Cuckmere Inn at Exceat. Fish and chips at the Trawlers near Seaford station.

Swimming in the sea is possible at Eastbourne, Birling Gap, Cuckmere Haven and Seaford. High tide is at 4.16pm giving good depth for swimming at either Birling Gap or Cuckmere Haven from around 2pm to 6.30pm. You can swim at Seaford at any state of the tide. In Eastbourne you would need to swim before you pass the Wish Tower: after this there are underwater rocks at low to mid states of the tide. Big waves (1 metre plus) can make entering and exiting the sea tricky at all these beaches, apart (possibly) from Eastbourne. Always use your own judgement before swimming.

Trains back are at 25/28 and 57 past, changing at Lewes, except on the 20.57 when you change at Brighton (takes 20 mins longer so is hardly worth it). Last trains 21.28 and 22.20. T=2.28
Has someone taken off the cheap train offers to seaside?!!!
There has been a suspected chemical leak in the area with people complaining of sore throats and eyes. Probably best to avoid until further notice. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk england kent 41069085
If, on arrival at Eastbourne, local advice is still to avoid the coast, it may be worth having an alternative inland walk in reserve e.g. Berwick to Eastbourne in reverse, or Eastbourne to Southease along the SDW, or a walk sround Friston Forest.
Oh, what a day this was. 7 got the specified train, one (me) the train an hour earlier: so 8 in all. Both trains were busy but not tragically so. The mysterious chemical cloud that afflicted Birling Gap on Sunday afternoon had this huge silver lining that the vast hordes that would doubtless have otherwise descended on this part of the coast did not materialise. Beachy Head, Birling Gap, The Seven Sisters, Cuckmere Haven were all well populated but not at all heaving. It was almost miraculous.

It was blazing hot, somewhat hazy, making the white cliffs look rather ethereal at times. Hardly ever have I known such a windless day on the coast. This made it sticky at times but that made the swims all the more delicious.

Catching the earlier train I started with a sparkling low tide swim at Eastbourne. One walker on the specified train disappeared almost at once, apparently: we do not know why. The rest caught up with me on the climb to Beachy Head.

We avoided the pub and instead headed straight to Birling Gap for a dip. All of us swam, some far out into the bay. The water was unusually clear, lacking its usual milky chalk sediment. Jokingly I suggested the acid chemical cloud had dissolved it all.

Afterwards in the cafe we found that the previous day's events had left them short staffed. So the five who had not brought a picnic had to make do with cakes for lunch. On over the Seven Sisters, which seemed huge in the heat. Down to Cuckmere Haven which at 4pm was only lightly scattered with people. Again we all swam, a glorious swim in golden sun, again some of us going far out into the bay to get the best cliff views. You haven't lived if you have not seen the Seven Sisters from 200 metres out from the shore at Cuckmere Haven.

We walked up the river to the Cuckmere Inn, had a drink, walked back down the other side. It was now nearly 7pm and the light was mouthwatering, the Seven Sisters bathed in soft gold. A dreamy walk over Seaford Head got us to Seaford beach in time to see the sun on its last descent. Only one way to enjoy this in the water: a golden ball declining, turning the glassy/smooth ripples on the sea pink and gold. One of the loveliest swims I have ever had.

Three took the train home after this. Since Trawlers fish and chip shop had closed at 8pm, the four of us remaining ate in the pub, where the food would certainly not win any prizes. Wearily to the 9.20 train, which was empty, and a reasonably quiet connection to London. I got back to Victoria 14 hours after I had set out, having done the grand slam of swims Eastbourne, Birling Gap, Cuckmere Haven, Seaford. Now that is what I call a day out.
A very comprehensive report. The cliffs were grand and the sea still. I have never walked on this coastline with so little wind. I had deliberately delayed repeating this walk for several years in order to appreciate it more and was not disappointed. The dusky walk along the Cuckmere river was a particular delight, lovely, mellow and a little misty by that time. It is a wonderful place to listen to the water birds (not the cackle of seagulls but the unpredictable whistles of various estuary and wading birds, including, apparently, a whimbrel) We also enjoyed watching the fishing antics of a little egret. No regrets!
Sat, 09-Jul-16 18

Saturday Second Walk -- Walk 2.28 (in reverse)/SWC Walk 60: Eastbourne to Seaford

Book 2 Walk 28 (in reverse)/Extra Walk 60 (extended option): Eastbourne to Seaford – Classic Cliff Walk Along the Seven Sisters with Swimming Opportunities

Distance: 13.8 Miles (22.3 km), with various options to shorten via bus or making a circular walk
Difficulty: 9 out of 10 for the main walk
Train: Take the 9:17 Eastbourne train from London Victoria (9:23 Clapham and 9:33 East Croydon), arriving at Eastbourne at 10:46. Return trains from Seaford to Victoria are at 25 (becoming 28 at 20:28) and 57 past the hour until 21:28. If shortening the walk with one of the options you will need to take one of the frequent buses onto Seaford or back to Eastbourne. Buy a day return to Eastbourne.
It is with some trepidation that I post this classic summer walk given the current state of affairs of the BOTH the English summer AND Southern trains – but, in the end, decided that I would not let these details stand in the way of one of the best coastal walks in the Southeast with ample swimming opportunities against the backdrop of stunning chalk cliffs. High tide in the area is around 3:30 pm – so should be at a good level for swims at both Birling Gap and Cuckmere Haven (assuming all the other necessary stars align for a suitable swimming experience). I have posted a slightly earlier train than I would normally to provide some protection against a train cancellation, as the next train at 9:47 would also be a suitable start time.
The walk is basically the Book 2 Walk 28 walk in reverse; but, the instructions from SWC Walk 60 can be used from Eastbourne as far as Exceat from where the walk can be shorten by taking a bus onto Seaford. Also, the walk can be shortened by going as far as Birling Gap or East Dean and taking a bus back to Eastbourne or by making a circular walk back to Eastbourne from East Dean (these options are all described in instructions for SWC Walk 60). The walk instructions and further information can be found here for Book 2:28 and here for SWC Walk 60.
The recommended lunchtime pub is the Beachy Head Pub on Beachy Head, about 3 miles into the walk. Tea can also be had at the Cuckmere Inn in Exceat (roughly 10 miles into the walk). For those going all the way to Seaford, Trawlers is a good fish and chip stop.

Enjoy the walk!
Excellent idea to reverse this walk; in my opinion the views are much better doing the 7 sisters this way. Seaford has improved over the years and is now a better place to end a walk. As an "oldie" I often catch the bus to Brighton from just beyond Seaford station where there are loads of "refreshment" opportunities and more trains back to London.
This could also be your last chance to take a train from Seaford for a while as Southern seem to be scrapping Seaford trains and replacing them with buses as part of their emergency timetable to cope with the effects of the "sickie strike", a timetable which takes effect on Monday next.
Amendment to last comment. There will be (almost ) no trains to Seaford Monday to Friday: weekend trains will presumably run as normal
OK, just to be on a safe side: do Seaford station staff accept Eastbourne tickets?
I have never had a problem with this. There are never any barriers at Seaford anyway. Any station staff there are will be so relieved that trains are actually running on the line that they won't have time to be picky about tickets. Plus Southern seem relaxed about this kind of thing anyway. If you get any grief, launch into a prolonged rant about all the delayed journeys you have had due to the "sickie strike", how you were late to work eight times in the last two weeks, how you didn't get home till midnight, etc etc etc. Or discourse on the fact that Southern have essentially scrapped rail service to Seaford Monday to Friday in their emergency timetable. They are in no position to be high and mighty with the travelling public on any topic.
A big thanks to Stargazer for posting this classic and to Walker introducing us all to an alternative way to Beachy Head!
I hope the swimmers found a good spot for a dip and everyone enjoyed the fine views.
The Belle Tout Lighthouse reminded me of the Beebs adaptation of "The Life and Loves of a She Devil" set at this lovely location with a very young Dennis Waterman and Patricia Hodge back in 1983.
I was tempted to loiter in Seaford but the 5:25 train was on the platform and it was going in five minutes ...
A nice lady guard asked to see my ticket on this train. I told her I'd walked from Eastbourne and was travelling back via Lewes
"Good enough" she said. (I wasn't sure if she was commenting on the ticket or the walk though.)
18 on this walk, two of them late starters who caught us at lunch. No problem with the trains either out or back. (The guard on our return journey to London said he was feeling "very well"). The weather was windy but reasonably fine. Sometimes it was sunny ish and sometimes it was grey ish and in the early part of the walk one sometimes had to shout to make oneself heard against the gale but at other times it was not windy. Average summer weather, in other words.

We split early into two factions, one going on to lunch at Birling Gap, the other stopping at the Beachy Head pub. The latter has dropped its tedious insistence on making one order at the table and consequently food service was quick (though perhaps arriving early helped too). On the walk down to Birling Gap it looked as if a flash mob of European and Japanese youth had formed in response to some trending tweet certainly I have never seen it so busy. Many were sat nonchalantly right on the cliff edge and one Italian guy, who I am guessing is not long for this world, had his legs dangling over the edge. Well, I suppose it is nice to see the young out enjoying our lovely scenery.

Four of us swam at Birling Gap where the water was a decent 16 degrees and the sun sort of shone for part of the time we were in. Metre high waves made things a little exciting. The Seven Sisters were their usual lovely self and not busy until Haven Brow, which was like Glastonbury. Six of us spent some time on the beach at Cuckmere Haven where three of us had another long swim. I understand four of the advance group also swam here. We six then had drinks at the Cuckmere Inn and a lovely sunset walk on to Seaford, arriving in time for the inevitable bettered cod and fried potatoes from the Trawlers which we ate on the 21.28, washed down by two bottles of wine.
.....battered cod.... (perhaps bettered too, but that is a matter of culinary opinion, I suppose)
Sun, 01-May-16 17

Sunday Walk 1 – the Seven Sisters

Book 2 Walk 28 – Seaford to Eastbourne
Length: 22.3 km (13.9 miles). Toughness: 9/10

09:45 Ore train from London Bridge (East Croydon 10:03), changing at Lewes (arr 10:48, dep 11:03) for Seaford, arriving at 11:23. Buy a day return to Eastbourne, which in practice is usually accepted on the branch line to Seaford.

Note that there are no trains out of Victoria this weekend, and limited connections from Clapham Jct. London Bridge is likely to be crowded so allow plenty of time.

Direct trains back from Eastbourne are hourly at 59 minutes past until 20:59. If you reckon you've got the energy to sprint across a crowded Brighton concourse to make a three-minute connection you could gamble on the Brighton-bound trains at 26 minutes past, but I wouldn't recommend it.

A Bank Holiday weekend is a good time for a long and strenuous Sunday walk since you won't have to think about going to work the next day. Mind you, the engineering works at Victoria would normally have tempted me to look elsewhere but four SWC regulars have requested this popular Seven Sisters walk, so let's hope that Southern are up to the task of getting you there and back.

The walk itself hardly needs any introduction, but it won't do any harm to bring Book 2 or print the details from the Walk 28 page. There's a choice of lunch places at Exceat, less than a third of the way through the walk, before you tackle the undulating cliff-tops in the afternoon. There are several places where you could duck out and catch one of the frequent buses on to Eastbourne (or back to Seaford). Eastbourne itself has plenty to detain you if it's a nice evening and you're not in a hurry to get back. T=2.28
Buses from Birling Gap to Eastbourne (last two services on Sunday will be at 17.46 and 18.46). Takes 20 minutes.
2 of us commenced the walk 1 hour earlier to get maximum benefit of a gloriously sunny, warm day at a leisurely pace, enjoying a drink with a sandwich and the pub's crisps (30 mins) at The Cuckmere inn with fabulous views, tea and sponge cake/ice cream etc at Birling Gap (45 mins) and fish & chips with beer at Harry Ramsden's in Eastbourne and the 1859 home. Despite lingering on the pier and watching vintage cars with masses of people everywhere, we only encountered one of the main party who reckoned on 15 starters so that makes 17 hot=and=sunny No mud! No rain! Perfick!
25 sun cold breeze. I reckon they were at least 25 on this walk. Five left the station before introductions due to crowding on the platform. An attempt was made to have lunch at the Saltmarsh cafe before it crashed out of catering on the bank holiday weekend. Having ordered food they then took 20 minutes to tell us that some of our choices were not available and having reselected they then returned sometime later to tell us that was no food at all. They then said that there were some preprepared sandwiches. They were disgusting. Catering at Birling Gap coped well. At least one person crossed the creek at Cuckemere Haven. Having waited at the Beachy head pub for a bus we gave up and walked into Eastbourne. It would seem that at least one 13X bus did not run on the timetable. Long day of small frustrations on a glorious walk in perfect weather.
Others describe this as a day of frustrations, but for me it was about as ideal a day of walking as I can remember, largely because of the exceptional combination of brilliant sunshine without excessive heat.

The number I saw was closer to 15 than 25. The group spread out pretty quickly. About eight crossed the water at Cuckmere Haven together with the intention of going to the farmhouse. I'll be interested to know how they got on.

I thought better of it and went alone to the Cuckmere Inn at Exceat, which wasn't crowded and produced a respectable roast reasonably quickly. Roast potatoes three out of five.

That Harry Ramsden's in Eastbourne was a mistake was plain to see when the waitress carrying it had five more metres of her approach still to go.
Hi, about 7 of us crossed the cuckmere wet feet for sure but cut out the long detour was fine! finished early great walk I make it 16 plus extra two you mention below so thats 18!
hayley
Agree this is a lovely walk. As I was pushed for time on 1st May I did the short walk from Eastbourne to East Dean on my own. Not surprised that some walkers gave up on the 12X bus at Birling Gap. I waited nearly 45 minutes for an Eastbourne bus at East Dean until eventually a bus appeared. The bus got into Eastbourne seconds before the next London train was due to leave and really thought I'd miss it and have an hour wait for the next train but fortunately we were rescued by the driver who stopped and opened the doors outside the entrance to the station (not the bus stop) a dozen or so passengers ran and caught the train by seconds. Also, wanted to point out that the Belle Tout lighthouse between Beachy Head and Birling Gap now has a cafe serving tea, coffee, ice creams, cold drinks and hot snacks.
Mon, 31-Aug-15 8

Bank Holiday Monday walk - Seven Sisters coastal walk

T=2.28 Book 2, Walk 28, Seaford to Eastbourne
Length: 13.8 miles
( with drop out points at Exceat 3.9 miles, Birling Gap 8 miles, and Beachy Head 10.7 miles, buses will come along every 10 minutes or so to pick you up at each drop out point.) [The bus from Burling Gap goes at 16 and 46 past the hour until 6pm.]

9.46 train from Victoria, calling at Clapham Junction 9.51, and East Croydon 10.01, to Seaford, changing at Lewes 10.50/10.58, arrive Seaford 11.14.

Trains back from Eastbourne, are direct at X31, or X47, X58, or X04 with a change.

Train tickets? Walk notes don't seem to say. I know Eastbourne has a barrier so possibly a via all routes return to there.

For walk directions (if you need them: it is a straightforward walk along the coast) click here

The second of our two "pick your own" bank holiday walks: Anonymous, who has picked this walk, says: Two of us are doing the Seven Sisters on Monday so it would be great if some other SWCers could be tempted out for a dramatic coastal walk after a week of rain and while the Birling Gap bus is still running.

Lunch is at the Cuckmere Inn (formerly the Golden Galleon) at Exceat or the Saltmarsh Cafe at the Exceat visitor centre. Tea at Birling Gap NT cafe.


8
so I hear from people on the wednesday walk. some regular walkers and bloggers, yet no walk number blog comment, as 'it is all too complicated these days'.
Well there were 6 of us on this somewhat strenuous Bank HOLIDAY
walk. we were fortunate that the rain held off but it was very muddy in the cuckmere valley.Several people had lunch at the Cuckmere Inn but the food was somewhat indifferent.
One was certainly aware that one had had some exercise at the end of the day.jfk
Sun, 04-Jan-15 12 Seaford to Birling Gap
Sat, 06-Sep-14 14 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sun, 13-Jul-14 6 Seaford to Eastbourne
Wed, 19-Mar-14 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sat, 07-Sep-13 18 Seaford to Eastbourne
Wed, 10-Apr-13 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sat, 25-Aug-12 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sun, 19-Aug-12 Seaford to Birling Gap
Sat, 06-Aug-11 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sun, 29-May-11 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sun, 27-Feb-11 Eastbourne to Seaford
Sat, 21-Aug-10 Eastbourne to Seaford
Fri, 02-Jul-10 Seaford to Eastbourne
Mon, 31-May-10 Seaford to Eastbourne
Sun, 20-Sep-09 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 08-Aug-09 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 23-May-09 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sun, 22-Mar-09 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 09-Aug-08 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 14-Jun-08 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 18-Aug-07 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sun, 29-Jul-07 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)
Sat, 21-Jul-07 Seaford to Eastbourne (The 7 Sisters)