Horses, fields

Lewes to Seaford (composite route)

21-Jul-13 • moontiger on Flickr

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Book 2, Walk 26, Southease to Seaford

25-Mar-05 • MEW2005 on Flickr

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Book 2, Walk 26, Southease to Seaford

2 April 2005

01-Apr-05 • MEW2005 on Flickr

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Looking back across the Downs

02-Apr-05 • Peter Conway on Flickr

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Looking towards Seaford

02-Apr-05 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk26

The heart of the Downs

02-Apr-05 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk26

Looking back at point 5

02-Apr-05 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book2 walk26

Southease to Seaford walk

A loop to Rodmell for lunch, then up and across the South Downs. Finishes by the sea.


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: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 30-Jun-18 17

Saturday walk - Southease to Exceat via Seaford - the Downs and a dip in the sea

Length: 18.5km (11.5 miles) - or 12.3km (7.6 miles) if you only do the morning
Toughness: 6 out of 10: a couple of steep hill climbs

9.46 train from Victoria (9.53 Clapham Junction, 10.03 East Croydon) to Lewes, arriving 10.53, changing there - be quick! - for the 10.59 to Southease, arriving 11.06.
Buy a day return to Seaford. (Note: if the forecast is hot and sunny, Victoria station might be very busy: ideally buy your ticket in advance or at another station.)

I have been meaning to try this idea for a walk for some time. The idea is to do the shorter version (option a) of the Southease to Seaford walk (ie omitting the loop to Rodmell) in the morning, getting to Seaford for lunch after 7.6 miles. There is then the possibility of a sea swim on Seaford’s beach, before carrying on in the afternoon (optional - you could simply spend the afternoon on the beach) over Seaford Head to Cuckmere Haven (where another swim might be possible), and then on to Exceat for tea and a very regular (every ten minutes or so) number 12 bus back to Seaford. Seaford to Exceat is 6.2km (3.9 miles).

Directions for the morning part of the walk are here. GPX files are here. For the afternoon directions are not really necessary: follow the cliff path to Cuckmere Haven, then follow the riverbank inland to Exceat. But if you want directions, see paragraph 135 on page 12 of this document (you only need page 12). For GPX click here.

There are various lunch options in Seaford, including the Trawlers fish and chip shop by the station and the nearby Plough Inn near the church. Tea at Exceat is at the Cuckmere Inn or the Saltmarsh tea room (cross the road bridge and follow the road for 400 metres to the Seven Sisters Visitor Centre complex).

The number 12 bus runs to Seaford (taking 15 minutes or so) every ten minutes (until 7pm or so: half hourly after that) from both the Cuckmere Inn and Seven Sister Visitor Centre.

Trains back from Seaford are at 25 and 53 past the hour till late. (Note that all these trains now offer London connections via Lewes: there are no longer two evening trains where you have to connect via Brighton). T=2.26
There was an hour’s delay on the train down due to points problems in Purley, but 17 hardy souls still got to Southease a little after midday. We set off and soon stretched out or I soon ended up at the back, so I have no idea what happened to most of the group. It was of course hot and sunny (is there any other kind of weather? I have quite forgotten) and the downs were showing some effects of drought, though they were still quite flowery. No shade of any kind, but fine views.

I gather some got a bit lost around Bishopstone village. The few I was with did so deliberately, staying on the ridge rather than descending to the church, which proved a perfectly good route to the coast.

Once on the beach, three of us swam. Delightfully refreshing, still a tad cold perhaps but bearable for a good length of time. The beach was busy but not tragically so. A child kept delightedly reporting that he had found “a huge jellyfish” but we saw none. We had a sunbathe and another swim.

We went to one of the “other” (ie non Plough) pubs the Boot? for an al fresco lunch in delightful shade. The food here was nicer than its rather “locals” appearance suggested and the portions huge. It was about 5pm by the time we set off to walk over Seaford Head (having first checked out the kittiwake colony on the cliffs at the end of the beach) to Cuckmere Haven and up to Exceat, but this is the time when the light is just perfect for this walk. At Exceat we caught a bus straight into Seaford.

On the 7.53pm train home all went perfectly the morning’s delays seemed to have cleared. The four carriage train from Eastbourne was full but decamping to the Worthing half which we joined at Hayward’s Heath proved an inspired move as this was almost empty. We enjoyed two bottles of Prosecco (between four) on the train as the sun set, a very nice end to the day.
3 people having taken an earlier train from London were able to start the walk at the planned time. Outside the Bishopstone church with its benches 2 had a picnic at this ideal spot but I'm not sure what they did then on to Cuckmere Haven and then walking back to Seaford? I continued on to Seaford, enjoying lunch at the Salts Café and then to Seaford. This walk is a great idea but the morning stretch is long for a walk start after 11 so although an 8.46 train would be too early for many, it could work better for this walk.
Sun, 25-Jun-17 9

Sunday Walk – Over the South Downs to the sea

Book 2 Walk 26 – Southease (or Lewes) to Seaford
Length from Southease: 18.1 km (11.3 miles). Toughness: 5-6/10
Or from Lewes: 24.8 km (15.4 miles); 7-8/10

10:47 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:53, East Croydon 11:03), changing at Lewes (arr 11:48, dep 12:03) for the Seaford train, arriving Southease at 12:10.

Or for the Longer Walk: 09:47 Ore train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 09:53, East Croydon 10:03), arriving Lewes at 10:48. For both options, buy a return to Seaford.

Trains back from Seaford are at 27 minutes past the hour (changing at Brighton) and 57 minutes past (changing at Lewes). After 9pm the journey time is significantly longer and the times vary a bit, so check them out if you stay on for a meal.

This South Downs walk in Book 2 gets fewer outings than its neighbours, and in fact hasn't been posted for nearly three years. If you like to do a good chunk of a walk before lunch you won't be keen on the standard variation, as it's only 4 km to the Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell and you'll get there in less than an hour (hence the late start). So this option is really a longish afternoon walk over the downs to Seaford, where you can dip your toes in the sea before reviving yourself for the journey home.

Those who want a longer walk should take the train an hour earlier and start from Lewes, using the morning section from Walk 24 (Lewes to Saltdean). You'll get to the lunch pub at about the same time as the Southease starters and can join them for the afternoon leg (or you could duck out and return from Southease).

You'll need to download the PDF file(s) from the Southease to Seaford Walk page (plus the Lewes to Saltdean Walk page for the Longer Walk), or simply bring Book 2 itself. T=2.26
just to alert walkers that there have been two major cliff falls at Seaford Head in the last week or so with large amounts of chalk crashing into the sea. Keep well away from the cliff eddge 25m at a mimnimum.
Sound advice, but cliff falls aren't a problem on this particular walk. You come into Seaford from the beaches to the west, not the cliffs to the east.
Anyone is up for the early start from Lewes?
probably getting later train.
I'm taking the longer route.
At least 3 on this walk. 1 absent mindedly started a whole hour early (not used to the late start) and walked the main route, finishing at Bishopstone. 1 had started at Southease at the designated time but skipped the loop via Rodmell. The 3rd, I think, began the walk at Lewes.
Mixture of sunny blue skies and windy and clouds.
3 sunny blue skies mixed with windy and clouds
I probably should not be counted on this walk as I caught an earlier train and decided to walk from Lewes to Glynde via the Caborn Mt valley and uphill route. Two reasons for doing this: I've never really liked the "there and back" morning section of this walk and secondly I wanted to get some local information about what is happening about the Trevor Arms in Glynde. I dropped into the village store and was told there are still hopes that the pub can be taken over as a going concern but nothing is going to happen this year. After a picnic lunch at Glynde cricket ground I passed the pub which looks depressingly desolate and I do wonder if the village can sustain a pub/restaurant.

I continued on up the long climb which ends a 100 or so metres from the telecoms mast to pick up the onward route of the set walk along one of my favourite (and empty) parts of the South Downs with its wide expansive views and the sea beckoning you on. Just before Bishopstone on the descent of a track through woods I had to negotiate a fallen tree blocking the path and near the end I decided discretion was the better part of valour when a couple of bullocks took rather too close an interest. I retreated to take the road into Seaford. A cup of tea in the park ended a fine 11+ mile walk which sadly for the time being is a picnic only option.
9 At my count 4 started in Lewes and 5 at Southease. Apart from Pete B, 8 were together for part of the the afternoon. 2 then took a short cut and ended at Bishopstone.

I also negotiated the fallen tree at Bishopstone. There was a local there called Steve who was trying to start up a chainsaw to cut it up. I could hear it whirring away as I approached the church.

I finished the walk at Bishopstone as I knew a train had just left Seaford and the timing was too good to ignore.

Sat, 20-Sep-14 13 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 29-Jun-14 10 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 26-May-13 8 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 29-Jul-12 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 29-Jul-12 Lewes to Seaford, via Rodmell and Southease
Sun, 14-Aug-11 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 02-Oct-10 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 18-Jul-10 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 20-Mar-10 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 25-Jul-09 Southease to Seaford (short walk, omitting Rodmell)
Sat, 23-Aug-08 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 08-Jun-08 Southease to Seaford
Wed, 02-Apr-08 Southease to Seaford
Sun, 08-Jul-07 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 30-Jun-07 Southease to Seaford
Sat, 17-Mar-07 Southease to Seaford