Overview: After several requests we return to Eastbourne and the South Downs for a walking and social weekend with Steve and Arlene Dell.
This part of the South Downs has some stunning scenery as not only do you get the dramatic rolling hillsides with “views for miles” but a lot of it is coastal, adding to the beauty and drama of it.
The walks planned will have such a variety of scenery including the must see Seven Sisters white cliffs and Country Park, Beachy Head, the picturesque Cuckmere Haven, pretty villages such as East Dean and Litlington (in the Cuckmere Valley), Friston Forest and we can even see a white hill figure with the famous “Long Man” hill figure.
This weekend will appeal to both social walkers who want shorter walks and more serious walkers who want longer ones as on one of the days there will be the option of a longer or shorter walk. The walks are easy to moderate, as some will have more gradients than usual with Steve, which gives the area its wonderful scenery, but we will take our time and admire the stunning scenery.
Eastbourne is a lovely Victorian seaside town with a vast sea front and lovely pier. We are very close to Beachy Head (in fact you can see Beachy Head from our hotel).
There is also plenty to do for non walkers or if you want to mix & match walking with social / tourist stuff. Brighton and Hastings are a short drive or bus journey away. Sovereign Harbour Marina is at the other end of Eastbourne and there are theatres and museums to discover.
We stay at the Best Western Lansdowne Hotel which is on the seafront overlooking the Western Lawns and Wish Tower and is of a high standard.
There is also the added bonus of a social programme for that après walking! The package includes three nights’ dinner, bed, breakfast and packed lunches.
The weekend is achievable without using your car as two of the walks are accessed using public transport (you could car share or a short taxi ride for the third) and Eastbourne can be reached by train or coach.
The walking programme: This is designed to be flexible and has options for varying distances on the Saturday and Sunday.
The Seven Sisters, Cuckmere Haven and Friston Forest: This figure of eight walk starting from the Seven Sisters Country Park has so much variety; riverside valley floors, great coastal views from the famous seven sisters white cliffs, pretty forest paths and part of The South Downs Way. The morning walk takes us to the pretty village of West Dean and through Friston Forest and onto the village of Friston. A bridleway takes us to the coast and we experience four of the Seven Sisters. The afternoon walk will include Cuckmere Haven. The morning walk will be about 6½ miles with a further 3½ miles in the afternoon.
Beachy Head and Birling Gap and East Dean: We can walk from the hotel with this one and there are 3 options of distances. We start by following the South Downs Way as we head to the top of Beachy Head. After admiring the stunning views we continue along the coastal path to Birling Gap with its great views of the white cliffs (and Café). The next section continues with the remaining three of the Seven Sisters and on to the lovely village of East Dean with its nice church and pub! We catch the bus back to Eastbourne after replacing lost fluids in the lovely pub. The walk can range from 4 to 8 miles.
Wilmington, Alfriston and “The Long Man”: The last days walking will be inland and will take in The Long Man of Wilmington – the famous chalk figure cut in the hillside, is described as “the mysterious guardian of the South Downs” and has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years. In addition to the sweeping South Down views the walk also visits two more lovely villages Wilmington & Alfriston. The walk will be around 7 miles.
The social après walking: The social stuff on the evenings is designed to be flexible – we can decide as a group what happens on each night.
Friday night: Dinner will be at the hotel and Steve will do a welcome chat around 9:00, where he will go through the plans for the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday nights: We will have our dinner at the hotel followed by either a quiz, which have always proved popular or maybe find our way to some local pubs to make a change from the hotel.
The Hotel: We stay at the Best Western Lansdowne Hotel which is on the seafront overlooking the Western Lawns and Wish Tower.
Sea View rooms: Some of the rooms are sea view and these will be allocated to those who book earliest!